Australia vs Georgia result, highlights and analysis as Wallabies comfortably win Rugby World Cup 2023 opener

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Eddie Jones earned his first win as Australia head coach at the sixth attempt as the Wallabies overpowered Georgia 35-15 to begin the Rugby World Cup 2023 with a comfortable victory in Group A.

More to follow

MORE: When is the Rugby World Cup final?

The Sporting News followed the match live, providing live updates and commentary below.

Australia vs. Georgia result

  1H 2H FT
Australia 21 14 35
Georgia 3 12 15

Tries: Australia – Jordan Petaia, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ben Donaldson (2)

Georgia – Luka Ivanishvili, Tedo Abzhandadze

Conversions: Australia – Ben Donaldson (3)

Penalties: Australia – Ben Donaldson (3)

Georgia – Luka Matkava, Tedo Abzhandadze

Australia vs. Georgia live commentary, highlights

Fulltime: Australia 35-13 Georgia

Eddie Jones has his first win as Australia coach! The Wallabies came roaring out but Georgia made them work for it during the second half of an absorbing opening match for these sides.

Thanks for following our live coverage. We’ll have a report and highlights coming up.

80 mins: TRY – Australia 35-13 Georgia

Georgia have a try at the death!

Toulon prop Beka Gigashvili adds Georgia’s second try of the evening. Tedo Abzhandadze converts!

76 mins: Australia 35-8 Georgia

73 mins: Australia 35-8 Georgia

Mark Nawaqanitawase saves Australia! The man who scored during the first half stops Akaki Tabutsadze, just when the Georgia man is about to touch down.

68 mins: TRY – Australia 35-8 Georgia (Ben Donaldson)

Australia have the bonus point!

Carter Gordon unlocks Georgia after a prolonged spell of Australia probing, finding Ben Donaldson with a pass that allows him to add to his tally – and he does it again with the conversion.

63 mins: Australia 28-8 Georgia

Both sides make changes: Robert Leota comes on for Richard Arnold for Australia, while fullback Davit Niniashvili – who looked crestfallen after his mistake for that most recent try – makes way for Giorgi Kveseladze.

60 mins: Australia 28-8 Georgia

“Eddie Jones has come in and picked an array of new talent,” Danielle Waterman tells ITV Sport. “It brings the best out of those senior players.”

58 mins: CONVERSION – Australia 28-8 Georgia (Ben Donaldson)

It’s a conversion try for Ben Donaldson. Australia’s blistering start and response to that Georgia fightback means the Wallabies are two points away from a bonus point in the table.

56 mins: TRY – Australia 26-8 Georgia (Ben Donaldson)

How important does that composed clearance from Carter Gordon look now?

Taniela Tupou, who justifiably celebrates ecstatically after the ball goes over, intercepts the ball from Davit Niniashvili, who was tackled.

Tupou then provides Ben Donaldson with the opportunity to score Australia’s third try!

53 mins: Australia 21-8 Georgia

Australia ease the pressure as Carter Gordon punts the ball downfield following a spell of possession for his side.

50 mins: Australia 21-8 Georgia

Miriani Modebadze is back from the sin bin, so Georgia are back to full strength.

Australia replace Angus Bell with Blake Schoupp, who duly concedes a penalty.

48 mins: TRY – Australia 21-8 Georgia

A terrific pass from Luka Matkava allows Luka Ivanishvili to evade Carter Gordon and score!

All the momentum is with Georgia… but Matkava sends the attempted conversion wide.

47 mins: Australia 21-3 Georgia

Georgia are a man down but are applying the pressure, winning a penalty from a ruck.

Luka Matkava’s kick puts them right by the line. Is this going to be their first try?

44 mins: Australia 21-3 Georgia

Perhaps buoyed by that sublime piece of salvation by Niniashvili, Georgia earn a scrum penalty, giving Luka Matkava the chance to clump the ball into Australia territory.

42 mins: Australia 21-3 Georgia

Superb play by Davit Niniashvili for Georgia, showing supreme skill to keep Nic White’s box kick from going out of play at speed.

41 mins: Australia 21-3 Georgia

Georgia kick off the second half. Can they at least cause Australia the problems they were expected to during this period?

Halftime: Australia 21-3 Georgia

“Australia have been in a different league to Georgia,” former England head coach Clive Woodward tells ITV Sport.

“The biggest difference is in the scrum, where Australia have dismantled them.”

Halftime: Australia 21-3 Georgia

Drama before the break: Miriani Modebadze is sin-binned for Georgia for a foul on Australia replacement Nic White, conceding two rapid-fire penalties.

Ben Donaldson can’t take advantage this time, but Australia will be more than happy with that blitz of a half. Has Eddie Jones already answered some of his critics?

Georgia, meanwhile, have looked sloppy defensively and largely failed miserably when they have moved forward.

36 mins: Australia 21-3 Georgia

Tate McDermott’s receiving a Head Injury Assessment. Nic White’s on for him for Australia.

35 mins: Australia 21-3 Georgia

It looks like Tate McDermott is going to have to go off, at least temporarily. He’s taken a nasty whack to the head from a Georgia player’s knee. Ouch.

30 mins: PENALTY – Australia 21-3 Georgia (Ben Donaldson)

Another straightforward kick for Ben Donaldson, who’s having a half to remember.

29 mins: Vasil Lobzhanidze faces a check for a high tackle after bringing Tate McDermott down by manhandling his shoulder.

He’s not punished further – but it’s an Australia penalty.

26 mins: Better from Georgia as Akaki Tabutsadze gets away down a flank, then makes the wrong decision and overhits a kick. Ben Donaldson deals with the danger.

22 mins: Australia 18-3 Georgia

Georgia have the welcome relief of mounting an attack but almost immediately turn the ball over.

Their pre-match confidence must feel like it coarsed through them a lot longer than 20-odd minutes ago, right now.

19 mins: PENALTY – Australia 18-3 Georgia

Ben Donaldson sends over a kick as easy as he’s likely to have all afternoon.

18 mins: Australia 15-3 Georgia

A fine piece of sportsmanshp: Taniela Tupou knocks the ball on as Australia look to have scored another try.

English referee Luke Pearce can’t see it but the prop confesses the truth. “You haven’t scored a try – good honesty, thank you very much,” says Pearce.

Australia will fancy the penalty they’ve received, though.

14 mins: PENALTY – Australia 15-3 Georgia

Ben Donaldson lacks the experience of the regular he replaced in Australia’s starting side, Andrew Kellaway, but he’s proving his worth early on in a dominant display by his side, adding a penalty to augment their lead.

12 mins: Australia 12-3 Georgia

Former England international Nelli Waterman was impressed with Mark Nawaqanitawase’s try.

“He has been marvellous,” she tells ITV. “He is a fantastic all-round player. There’s an ever-so-slight misread in defence and then it’s just a case of keeping the ball alive. Australia are getting in behind the Georgia defence.”

10 mins: CONVERSION – Australia 12-3 Georgia

Ben Donaldson does the business this time. Eddie Jones predicted brighter work by Australia at these finals, and he’s been proven right so far.

9 mins: TRY – Australia 10-3 Georgia (Mark Nawaqanitawase)

What a start this has been!

The restored Samu Kerevi is part of a move that sees Australia exploit holes in Georgia’s defence through the centre, which Mark Nawaqanitawase further punishes by arrowing towards the right and scoring their second try inside 10 minutes!

5 mins: PENALTY – Australia 5-3 Georgia (Luka Matkava)

Georgia hit back! Carter Gordon’s kick is charged down and he then impedes with an aerial challenge. Luka Matkava gladly accepts the opportunity, kicking Georgia’s first points of the afternoon!

3 mins: TRY – Australia 5-0 Georgia (Jordan Petaia)

Ben Donaldson’s 42-metre attempt to add two points rises just wide.

2 mins: TRY – Australia 5-0 Georgia (Jordan Petaia)

Australia have the start they wanted as Jordan Petaia touches down by the corner on the left!

Georgia couldn’t deal comprehensively with Donaldson’s opening kick, allowing Australia to initially threaten on the right.

Tate McDermott then found Jordan Petaia as the Wallabies moved the ball wide, and the recipient span between two defenders to give his side the lead. Too easy for Australia!

1 min: Australia 0-0 Georgia

Australia’s Ben Donaldson launches the action underway!

1 min to kickoff: You could see how much this game means to Georgia during the national anthems. Many of their players had their eyes closed as they wholeheartedly sang along.

10 mins to kickoff: Georgia are going round embracing each other in the dressing room. They seem like a thoroughly tight-knit group.

“This should be a tight game between a team who we think can do really, really well against proven opponents,” former England coach Clive Woodward tells ITV Sport.

30 mins to kickoff: Let’s catch up with some of what Eddie Jones has said. He’s lost all five of his matches since returning as Australia head coach, so he has added reason to call today’s game “very important”.

“We went through a period where we had to almost destructure the team to get ourselves in the position where we think we can win the World Cup,” Jones said, calling this fixture “the first step”.

He also talked up his pack, saying: “I would never have dreamt saying as the coach of Australia that we have got a huge pack that could dominate the World Cup, but we have. We intend to use that to our advantage.”

50 mins to kickoff: Defeat is unthinkable for 25-1 odds-on favourites Australia, but Georgia thrashed Wales in November and beat Italy four months earlier. For coach Levan Maisashvili, today is another proud moment and a step further past his ordeal when he nearly died in a a Johannesburg hospital after Covid swept through the team camp during a tour in South Africa.

“I was almost dead,” the told Rugby Pass. “Maybe it’s better to say I was dying. But I survived. I spent approximately 28 days in a coma, and in total I spent two-and-a-half months at Milpark Hospital in Jo’burg.

“I dropped 25kg in weight. I was less than 60kg. My lungs were 99% collapsed. If you see the scan of my lungs, it’s the lungs of the dead man. I had sepsis. I had everything you can imagine. Everyone was waiting for me to die.

“Every night was like a last night. But some miracle happened. Maybe it was a lot of people who were praying for me.”

Remarkably, Maisashvili returned to the training pitch that October, although it took him until mid-2022 to fully recover.

70 mins to kickoff: As we continue the buildup to the opening game for these nations, don’t forget that you can follow live voerage of Ireland against Romania with The Sporting News.

It’s currently 47-8 to Ireland, and you can catch up with the latest on our live blog of that match in Bordeaux.

90 mins from kick-off: Welcome to live coverage of this World Cup match at the Stade de France, which features an inexperienced Australia team attempting to end their nation’s poor run of form coming into these finals.

Eddie Jones’ matchday squad carries an individual average of 19 caps. “With the youngest team at the Rugby World Cup, the excitement level in the group is high and we’ve had a good preparation,” said Jones.

Will the head coach’s words seem convincing at fulltime or come back to haunt him? We’ll have coverage of these teams’ opener coming up.

Australia vs. Georgia confirmed lineups

Samu Kerevi has recovered from a hand injury he suffered in the Bledisloe Cup last month and starts for Australia.

The centre is part of a starting side whose inexperience stands out, with Ben Donaldson chosen in place of regular fullback Andrew Kellaway.

Prop Taniela Tupou had an injury-hit 2022 but will make his 50th appearance for the Wallabies.

Australia starting XV: Ben Donaldson; Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Carter Gordon, Tate McDermott; Rob Valetini, Fraser McReight, Tom Hooper; Will Skelton, Richie Arnold; Taniela Tupou, David Porecki, Angus Bell

Australia replacements: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Zane Nonggorr, Matt Philip, Rob Leota, Langi Gleeson, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa

MORE: Rugby World Cup records

Openside Luka Ivanishvili starts for Georgia in the absence of the injured Beka Saginadze.

Nine of the players involved also took part in that defeat to Australia at the last edition of the finals.

Georgia starting XV: Davit Niniashvili, Akaki Tabutsadze, Demur Tapladze, Merab Sharikadze (capt), Mirian Modebadze, Luka Matkava, Vaso Lobzhanidze, Beka Gorgadze, Luka Ivanishvili, Tornike Jalaghonia, Kote Mikautadze, Nodar Cheishvili, Guram Papidze, Shalva Mamukashvili, Nika Abuladze

Georgia replacements: Tengizi Zamtaradze, Guram Gogichashvili, Beka Gigashvili, Lasha Jaiani, Giorgi Tsutskiridze, Gela Aprasidze, Tedo Abzhandadze, Giorgi Kveseladze

Australia vs. Georgia TV channel, live stream

TV networks worldwide will be showing all 48 matches at the tournament live, including many on free-to-air television.

On social platforms alone, video content from the Rugby World Cup and organisers World Rugby drew more than 2.1 billion views in 2019 – almost six times the previous figure.

  TV channel Streaming
USA Peacock
Canada TSN


Australia Channel 9 Stan Sport, 9Now
New Zealand Sky GO Sky GO
India Fan Code
Hong Kong BeIN Sports BeIN Sports
Malaysia BeIN Sports BeIN Sports
Singapore BeIN Sports BeIN Sports

Australia vs. Georgia odds

Georgia’s Vasil Lobzhanidze said there is “a big opportunity for us to win” when he was asked about his side’s prospects against Australia.

Viewers agreeing with the scrum-half will find The Lelos priced as heavy outsiders to win, with bookmakers clearly feeling the game is only likely to go one way.

Credit To Onwer