Wales scored the fastest bonus point of the Rugby World Cup so far as the Grand Slam champions made a statement of intent in a 43-14 win over Georgia in Toyota.
Jonathan Davies had them up and running after just three minutes and by the time the half-time whistle had blown, Justin Tipuric, Josh Adams and Liam Williams had also gone over.
Georgia got on the scoreboard at the start of the second half through hooker Shalva Mamukashvili but even the return of talisman Mamuka Gorgodze, out of retirement for this tournament, could not inspire the Lelos to turn things around.
They were much improved though, holding Wales out until 15 minutes from time when Tomos Williams went over, before Levan Chilachava crossed for the Georgians’ second.
George North went in for Wales try number six and Wales finished on a high ahead of their all-important clash with Australia in Tokyo in six days’ time.
Davies was heavily involved from the off, almost going over on the left after Georgia had knocked on from the kick-off.
He did not have to wait long though, slicing through a huge gap in midfield off a scrum and clever miss-pass from namesake Gareth Davies.
Dan Biggar’s conversion came back off the post, but he added three points soon after following a Georgian offside.
Nerves seemed to be affecting the Lelos, with Soso Matiashvili putting the ball out on the full twice in quick succession.
After the second Wales pounced, a simple inside pass from Biggar putting Adams clean through. He found Gareth Davies on his inside and while he was stopped short, Tipuric was there in support to snipe over.
Minutes later they were in again, Adams going all the way this time as the inside ball off the top of the lineout again opened up a huge hole. Biggar had found his kicking range by now and made it 22-0 after 20 minutes.
Georgia came into the game from that point, turning things around in the scrum after they had been penalised early.
But it was still Wales who added to their score before half-time, the lineout proving to be a fruitful option as Williams finished following Jonathan Davies’ half-break. Biggar converted and Wales had a 29-0 lead and the bonus point to take into half-time.
If Wales had flown out of the blocks in the first half, it was Georgia who returned the favour in the second, Mamukashvili the man to dot down after a powerful rolling maul. Tedo Abzhandadze converted from out wide to make it 29-7.
Wales responded with a monstrous rolling maul, pulled down five metres short of the line, with Jaba Bregvadze sin-binned for his troubles.
Despite that, Wales could not add to their score with the extra man, instead having to wait until the 66th minute for Tomos Williams to win the race onto North’s kick through.
Georgia hit straight back, Chilachava crashing over from close range after replacement Otari Giorgadze’s powerful charge.
After North had made one try for Tomos Williams, the replacement scrum-half returned the favour, skipping past a number of tackles before finding the winger, who beat three more men on the way to the line. Leigh Halfpenny converted from the touchline to close out an impressive victory.
The result was never in doubt from the minutes Jonathan Davies crossed in the third minute, but it was Justin Tipuric’s try that set the template for the Welsh win. Off the top of a lineout the ball was spread to Dan Biggar who put Josh Adams clean through. One phase later Tipuric was over and from there Wales knew that from every lineout there was space to exploit, as they did with the tries from Adams and Liam Williams.
No one has played more matches for Wales since the last World Cup than Tomas Francis, and the tighthead prop faced a huge challenge in the form of Georgia skipper Mikheil Nariashvili. He held his own, winning one early penalty, although Nariashvili got his own back later in the first half. Still, in a game where the Welsh scrum was going to be tested to the limit, Francis helped Wales gain parity, which was not necessarily the case after he went off.