Georgia have qualified for next year’s World Rugby U20 Championship by beating Canada 49-24 in the final of the U20 Trophy 2015 in Lisbon.
Two scores from left wing Giorgi Kveseladze were among the highlights of a seven-try to three victory as the powerful Europeans showed they are emerging at all levels of the game.
The Junior Lelos started the game at a ferocious pace pinning Canada in their own 22 for long stretches of the first 40 minutes, scoring four tries and storming into a 24-0 lead. In particular, their scrum was able to dominate what is normally a very assured Canadian set-piece.
But, just before half-time and against the run of play, Canadian captain Lucas Rumball crossed the line in the corner to stem the flow and give the Canucks hope as they went in at the break 24-7 down.
Try as Canada might in the second half, however, and despite two tries from their hugely impressive No. 8 Luke Bradley, Georgia were too strong, finally winning out by a margin of 25 points.
This victory is another important step forward for Georgian rugby as they prepare to host the U20 Championship in 2017. Next year will give them vital experience playing in the top flight of junior rugby before hosting the world’s best U20 sides the following season.
Georgia captain Badri Alkhazashvili said: “It feels wonderful. We have not won any game like this in our history… I am really proud of my boys.”
Earlier, in an incredible match, Uruguay secured third place by edging out Tonga 43-42 at the same venue while Fiji beat Namibia 36-24 for fifth place and Portugal proved too strong for Hong Kong to take seventh position in a game that ended 47-21 at the CAR Rugby do Jamor stadium.
This successful edition of the World Rugby U20 Trophy has been hosted by Federação Portuguesa de Rugby with some enthralling rugby played at excellent venues. The action as far as U20 international rugby is concerned now shifts to northern Italy with the World Rugby U20 Championship 2015 getting underway on 2 June.