August 31, 2019 / 6:26 PM / 3 months ago

Hutchinson stakes World Cup claim as Scotland see off battling Georgians

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Premiership - Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby - Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, Britain - April 7, 2019 Northampton Saints' Rory Hutchinson in action Action Images/Tony O'Brien

(Reuters) - Centre Rory Hutchinson staked a late claim for World Cup inclusion with two tries as Scotland saw off Georgia 44-10 in a bruising warm-up clash in Tbilisi on Saturday.

The England-born Northampton-based 23-year-old, making his first international start, impressed throughout with his pace and movement, scoring in each half as Gregor Townsend’s side ran in five tries.

Scotland, fresh from an away defeat and a home win against France, were expecting a huge physical test from Georgia’s renowned pack and Gregor Townsend accepted the challenge head on, selecting a strong line-up to keep building momentum towards the World Cup starting in Japan next month.

With flyhalf Finn Russell pulling the strings, the visitors stormed into a 20-0 lead in as many minutes against the Six Nations hopefuls.

Georgia, desperate to impress on their debut as hosts of a Tier 1 nation, struggled to match enthusiasm with accuracy but did cross for a try in the second half, France-based prop Karlen Asieshvili crashing over following a series of forward drives.

Lock Scott Cummings, another World Cup hopeful and who made his debut against France earlier this month, scored Scotland’s last try.

The Scots, expected to name their 31-man squad on Tuesday, open their World Cup against Ireland in Pool A on Sept. 22. Georgia, ranked 12th in the world, start against Wales a day later in Pool D.

Reporting by Antony Lawrence, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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