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Townsend aware of Georgia threat

Scotland attack coach Gregor Townsend knows Georgia present a fresh formidable challenge to the World Cup campaign following the unconvincing opening Pool B win over Romania.

Two tries from Simon Danielli in the final five minutes saw Scotland respond from going 24-21 behind with 12 minutes remaining to win 34-24 in Invercargill on Saturday.

Scotland return to Rugby Park Stadium to play a Georgia side led by Richie Dixon, the former Scotland coach, on Wednesday aware of the need to improve after Romania's pack appeared rampant at times. Townsend said: "They will have looked at the game and probably looked at areas where they'll think 'this will suit our strengths'."

He added: "It's going to be a tough occasion. The first game of the World Cup for them, so they've been building up for this for months, if not years. And with Richie Dixon as coach I'm sure they've got a few things up their sleeves for us."

Georgia almost provided a preliminary round shock four years ago before Ireland edged to a 14-10 victory in Bordeaux. Townsend knows Scotland - expected to make numerous changes from the team which took on Romania, not least due to the proximity of the matches - must step up and deliver.

The former Scotland back added: "We planned for this first phase, these two games, for a long while. We'll be looking at a type of game that we believe will put pressure on Georgia and will win us the game.

"We're wanting the players to play as close to their potential (as possible). If we drop off one or two players then Georgia will get a foothold into the game. They proved against Ireland four years ago that if you give them a foothold they're very dangerous and could easily win the match."

Despite a stuttering showing against Romania - two tries in the opening 21 minutes and two more in the final five, either side of a mediocre middle of the match - Townsend was satisfied with the bonus-point success.

He added: "There were a lot of positives to come out at the end of the game - the character that was shown and the rugby we played to manufacture that win, because at one stage it looked like Romania were getting the upper hand. We're delighted to get the win, to start the World Cup with a victory."

Graeme Morrison was not considered for selection for the Romania contest after picking up a leg knock in training, but the Glasgow Warriors centre is available for Wednesday's match and at present there are no fitness concerns.


From Belfast Telegraph