Georgia labors to beat Portugal 23-14 after Italy win

July 16, 2022 GMT

KUTAISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgia almost let slip another draw with Portugal before prevailing 23-14 in their rugby test on Saturday, a week after a historic win over Italy.

Portugal center Rodrigo Marta scored a 60-meter individual try to have them trail only 16-14. But the conversion hit the post.

The restart was knocked on, Georgia camped in the Portugal 22, and Mirian Modebadze set up Davit Niniashvili for a late converted try.

Georgia made 10 changes, including giving two debuts, after beating Italy in Batumi for its first win over a tier one side. But the Lelos struggled to crack a spirited Portugal defence.

The Georgians were held up over the tryline twice at the end of a first half of only penalty kicks.

Portugal evened the score again at 9 in the second half but Niniashvili set up the first try for Modebadze.

The deflected conversion prevented Portugal from drawing, as it did in Tbilisi in February, and allowed Georgia to remain unbeaten against the Portuguese for a 16th straight year.

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