Fly-half Finn Russell starred as Scotland hammered Georgia 44-10 in a Rugby World Cup warm-up Test in Tbilisi on Saturday.
Russell played a part in all but one of the visitors’ five tries in a fixture which marked the first time a country from the top table of international rugby played a game in the former Soviet state.
Centre Rory Hutchinson crossed twice to secure Gregor Townsend’s second straight victory after losing to France a fortnight ago.
Prop Kakha Asieshvili claimed his sixth try in 35 Tests for the ‘Lelos’, ranked 12th in the world rankings, who beat South African provincial side the Southern Kings on Tuesday.
“You want the players to play well and they did that tonight. The more players that are training well and playing well, the harder it will be for us to get it down to 31 players,” Townsend told BBC Radio Scotland ahead of naming his final World Cup squad on Tuesday.
“In the first 20 minutes I thought we were accurate, we chased kicks well, we cleared contact well and held up in our set-piece.”
“That got us pulled into the game and we chipped away at the scoreboard through pressure and getting penalties,” he added.
– Hutchinson double –
The visitors raced into a 6-0 lead after 12 minutes with two Laidlaw penalty goals.
Scotland made the most of their early dominance as Russell showed his quality against a sluggish defensive line.
His break after 14 minutes ended with second-row Ben Toolis scoring.
The Racing 92 fly-half then set up Hutchinson five minutes later for the centre’s first Test try and Scotland led 20-0 after 19 minutes.
The home side claimed their first points of proceedings with a 40-metre penalty from full-back Soso Matiashvili.
Laidlaw then re-established the 20-point lead just before the break with an simple effort of his own.
Northampton midfielder Hutchinson, starting his first international, scored his second of the game eight minutes into the second half.
Georgia’s crossed through substitute Kakha Asiseshvili with the prop’s first touch after 58 minutes.
Fly-half Tedo Abzhandadze added the extras but Scotland led 30-10 with a quarter of the game to play.
Russell was key in the away side’s fourth try.
His neat grubber kick was collected by Darcy Graham for the winger’s fourth try in six Tests and Russell was substituted after slotting the touchline conversion with 15 minutes remaining.
Scotland’s fifth try came as substitute scrum-half Ali Price took a quick penalty and Scott Cummings crashed over from short range on the 74-minute mark.
The two sides face each other once again next Friday in their final warm-up game ahead of the start of the World Cup.
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