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Georgia undone by ill-discipline and errors, says coach

PARIS - Georgia coach Levan Maisashvili lamented his team's ill-discipline and imprecision after they opened their sixth World Cup campaign with a 35-15 loss to Australia on Saturday.

The Lelos were penalised 14 times in the first half alone and their misery was compounded just before the break when Miriani Modebadze was shown a yellow card for jumping over a ruck to try and slap the ball from the Australian scrumhalf.

Despite the absence of the left winger, Georgia started the second half more brightly but wild passes and dropped balls, leading to turnovers and missed opportunities, restricted them to two tries.

"Our goal was to not receive more than eight or nine penalties but maybe we had bad management and the opponent played very well," Maisashvili told reporters.

"The discipline problem is not only due to a bad game, we had a lot of emotions too. We lost the kicking game and we were kind of weak, but we were good on the counter attack... Our game was pretty weak so we got dominated by Australia."

Georgia entered the tournament with the same aim as they have entered the previous five: to make their case for more regular, meaningful competition during non-World Cup years.

"If you compare the Australian team to us, sure they have young players but they have experience playing against good teams, and they have much more opportunities to play highly competitive rugby," the coach said.

Their hopes of an upset to fuel their claims to better opposition did not materialise, however, as Australia ran in four tries to secure a bonus-point win.

Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze suggested that nerves had got the better of his team.

"We were playing against a very good Australian side," he said. "We had many technical issues and I hope for the future we will handle the pressure better."

Georgia, once famed only for their scrummaging but more recently offering some backline flair, displayed their traditional physicality and commitment but it was not enough to keep pace with the more tactically sound Australian side.

"I'm grateful to the boys because they fought to the end," the coach said.

"We missed at least three chances and we lost our energy in the end."

Georgia have two weeks to reflect on their loss and prepare for their next match in Toulouse against Portugal, the only Pool C opponents beneath them in the world rankings.

"We did not have much self confidence today, but what's important is the next game against Portugal," he said. REUTERS