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Australia-Georgia: the favorites and claws of our special correspondent

At the Stade de France.

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Australia-Georgia: the favorites and claws of our special correspondent

At the Stade de France


As if the atmosphere had not died down... Excited for the opening match between France and the All Blacks (27-13), the Dionysian public was still in great shape for this match between Australians and Georgians. With a sold-out crowd, the Stade de France never stopped cheering for the two teams, singing, jumping, vibrating at every outburst, booing at every disagreement, even when the level proposed by the 30 players dropped. An endless “ola” at the half-hour mark, “Marseillaises” improvised several times and a good-natured audience. “Georgia, Georgia” sometimes came down from the aisles. Clappings rang out in this stadium divided between yellow and white. 75,570 spectators in total. Only Eddie Jones, the Australian coach, collected several broncas when it was presented on the giant screens.

It certainly doesn't matter for the 63-year-old coach, who has seen others. Today, Eddie Jones saw his team tread water against opponents who were far below. Intractable in defense, precise and powerful up front, the Australians have found their rugby again. With this victory, the first of the Eddie Jones era, the Yellow and Green put an end to a series of five losses in a row. They who had only won two of their last thirteen matches.

He achieved everything in his match. Apart from the first conversion he attempted, Ben Donaldson made no mistakes. For his fifth selection and his first start at the back with Australia, the opener was impeccable in his scoring role (6/7, 15 points on the foot). The versatile 24-year-old three-quarterback especially stood out in the running game since he scored his team's last two tries, thus allowing the Wallabies to take the offensive bonus. 120 meters won, his team record, three defenders beaten and 25 points in total for the Waratahs player. Voted man of the match.


“I think it’s a big opportunity for us to win,” explained scrum half Vasil Lobzhanidze in the preamble. Faced with an Australia which arrived ill in France, Georgia logically believed in its chances of winning. Maybe a little too much. Overconfidence at the Stade de France? The Lelos were dominated in all areas. In the first period, they are non-existent. The Georgians were stunned from the start by Jordan Petaia's try (2nd). Only one penalty to eat, thanks to a gross error by Carter Gordon (6th), for not returning fanny at the break (21-3 M.T.). In the second period, the Lelos will try to push a little but it's too late, the damage is done. Two tries in the end to save the honor by Luka Ivanishvili (47th) and Tengiz Zamtaradze (80th). 13 penalties conceded in total. Levan Maisashvili's men will have two weeks to get their heads straight before facing Portugal on September 23, who appear to be the weakest country in Group C.

All eyes were on him, one of the many Georgians to play in France (there are 16 in total). At just 21 years old (he had them on July 14), Davit Niniashvili represents the future but also the present of the Georgian team. Absent from the field since April 1 and suffering a foot injury, the versatile three-quarterback made his return in mid-August with the selection. For his third match in five months, the LOU player was in difficulty. Some flashes, as evidenced by his 121 meters gained, a match record, but a lot of kicking to clear his side. Frustrating. Absent in defense (two turnovers conceded, zero tackles), “Nini” was, despite himself, the author of the third Australian try. After a dazzling counter and a breakthrough of 50 meters full axis, the back loses the ball and a few seconds later Ben Donaldson dives under the posts. A new try which strongly resembles that of the victory for the Wallabies. The Georgians understand this well and put one knee on the ground.

He was the best Australian player in the first half hour of play. Starting at the scrum, Tate McDermott was perfect. Quick around the rucks, precise in his passes, effective in launching the armada. At 24 years old, the one who is in competition with the experienced Nic White (33 years old) had a good head start against his opposite number. However, the Queensland Reds player had to give up his place shortly before the break. After receiving a knee to the head, Tate McDermott remains lying on the ground for several minutes, before coming out standing to applause (34th). After the meeting, Eddie Jones did not want to be alarming and wanted to be patient to get news from his player. Entering the match early, Nic White had a hard time getting up to speed.

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