South Africa 40-9 Georgia: Springboks begin British and Irish Lions preparations with win

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South Africa wing Aphelele Fassi runs over the tryline to scoreSouth Africa wing Aphelele Fassi scored with his first touch on debut
South Africa: (19) 40
Tries: Fassi, Mbonambi, Reinach, Smith, H Jantjies, Marx; Cons: Pollard 4, E Jantjies
Georgia: (9) 9
Pens: Abzhandadze 3

South Africa began their preparations for the British and Irish Lions Test series with a comprehensive victory against Georgia in Pretoria.

In their first international outing since winning the 2019 World Cup, the Springboks were initially let down by ill discipline and Georgia led.

But the hosts turned things around, showing some exciting attack for a six-try win at Loftus Versfeld.

South Africa face the Lions in the first of three Tests on 24 July.

New head coach Jacques Nienaber may have been concerned by his side's slow start, but it is perhaps understandable given the length of time since they last played and the fact the Springboks were hit by three positive Covid-19 tests last week.

A Tedo Abzhandadze penalty put Georgia ahead initially, before the Springboks sent an early warning signal to the Lions via debutant winger Aphelele Fassi.

The 23-year-old showed his pace down the left wing and managed to ground the ball before he was taken out of play, scoring on his first touch.

Two more penalties gave the visitors a four-point lead, but South Africa came to life as hooker Bongi Mbonambi scored in a maul after Georgia flanker Jaba Bregvadze went to the sin-bin.

Rather than the physicality they used to stifle England in the World Cup final, it was South Africa's backs in the spotlight as more slick offloads followed by a sublime chip over from Fassi allowed Cobus Reinach to cross.

The hosts were made to work hard for their first try after the break, but eventually Kwagga Smith made it over from the back of a scrum.

It was not long before the Springbok's fifth score as Handre Pollard kicked the ball between defenders for replacement scrum-half Herschel Jantjies to collect and score.

South Africa's pace slowed slightly with loose passes hindering their progress, but fell back on a solid set-piece as Malcolm Marx went over in a maul to seal a comfortable win against opponents they will face again on 9 July.


South Africa: Le Roux; Specman, Kriel, Steyn, Fassi; Pollard, Reinach; Nche, Mbonambi, Nyakane, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi, Du Toit, Smith.

Replacements: Marx, Kitshoff, Malherbe, Orie, Wiese, H Jantjies, E Jantjies, Willemse.

Georgia: Niniashvili; Tabutsadze, Kveseladze, Sharikadze, Tapladze; Abzhandadze, Lobzhanidze; Jalaghonia, Saghinadze, Spanderashvili, Mikautadze, Gigauri, Melikidze, Bregvadze, Gogichashvili.

Replacements: Chkoidze, Khatiashvili, Japaridze, Tcheishvili, Javakhia, Aprasidze, Babunashvil, Tskhadadze.

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