Cape Town - Georgia kicked off their Rugby World Cup campaign with a grueling 17-10 win over Tonga at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester on Saturday.
Georgia led 10-3 at the break, a lead which they would never surrender.
Tonga flyhalf Kurt Morath scored the first points of the contest with a 9th minute penalty.
Georgia were a little slow to respond but managed to pull level ten minutes later through a Merab Kvirikashvili penalty.
Georgia’s eighthman Mamuka Gorgodze crashed over for a try in the 27th minute which Kvirikashvili duly converted.
Tonga had two tries ruled out, both arguably the correct calls but it was the Georgian defence that ultimately won the game for the minnows of world rugby.
Georgia’s constant barrage of hard tackles kept the Tongans at bay before Giorgi Tkhilaishvili scored a brilliant try to take the score out to 15-3 in the 56th minute.
Kvirikashvili, who spurned a few penalty attempts, converted the try from the corner to extend the Georgians lead to 14 points.
Tonga launched wave after wave of attack, only to be denied by brilliant defence by Georgia.
Fetu'u Vainikolo scored in the 72nd minute to bring Tonga back into the contest before Kurt Morath converted from the corner to bring Tonga within seven points.
Merab Kvirikashvili was sent to the sin bin leaving Georgia with 14 men and without their number one goalkicker for final eight minutes.
Georgia survived the Tonga onslaught at the end of the game to seal a memorable win.
Try: Fetu'u Vainikolo
Penalty: Kurt Mortah
Tries: Mamuka Gorgodze, Giorgi Tkhilaishvili
Penalties: Merab Kvirikashvili (2)