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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 October, 2003, 12:58 GMT
Party time in Sydney
BBC Sport's Jim Stokes
By Jim Stokes
BBC Sport in Australia

Uruguay's fans find plenty to celebrate at the Aussie Stadium
Uruguayans find plenty to celebrate
Uruguay had Georgia on their minds at the Aussie Stadium on Tuesday night and will be in fine mind, if not body, to face England.

Their 24-12 win was greeted with such joy by the coaching staff in their little protected box high up in the stands, one was afraid they would come tumbling down to earth.

That may happen when they face an England team bent on showing the world that they really are contenders for the crown on Sunday.

But Uruguay will at least pay their adieu with only their second-ever World Cup victory tucked under their belts.

As for Georgia, they just wanted to end their World Cup odyssey with the victory that their passion, pride and growing support deserved.

Now after a brave, but tired performance, they bid farewell to their first tournament without a victory.

They leaked 200 points against 46 of their own and only crossed the opposition line once in four games.

But that mattered little as they trotted around the stadium with tired legs after the final to the rapturous applause of the crowd.

It was a showdown of the minnows in Pool C and spectators thronged in to show their support and created a cracking carnival atmosphere.

And it was not just Georgia's feverish entourage and a happy band of south Americans

The Australian public, whose sporting instincts would allow them to travel in droves to watch any contest, no matter how trivial, were out in force.

There was even traffic gridlock on the approach to the confines of the marvellous sporting complex at Moore Park.

Punters received a warm welcome
Punters received a warm welcome
Scantily-dressed can-can girls welcomed spectators at the main gates.

One Australian girls' school had adopted Georgia, and, adorned in maroon and white body paint and armour, proceeded to deafen the gathered audience, which inside the stadium numbered an incredible 28,576.

It was a cup final for these two minor rugby protagonists, particularly with the William Webb Ellis trophy sitting on the halfway line. A nice touch that.

Although constantly described as 'minnows' they still put in the big hits, kick prodigious distances, induce a level of pace into the game, have a certain canniness and scoring ability, and do the same jig at line-outs like everyone else.

It is just that their error rate is higher and the fitness levels lower, leaving them short of puff when it matters.

But for all that you could see the enjoyment in their faces.

They may be short of money and have to work hard on numbers playing the game back home, but that does not stop them having a ball.

It was Uruguay who had the more steel and nous in the end.

They have characters, like the front row duo of Rodrigo Sanchez and Diego Lamelas, who would not look out of place in the Zurich Premiership.

Their skipper, Diego Aguirre, is a leader of men and it was his break that lead to the clinching try late in the game, scored by replacement Nicolas Brignoni.

His effort killed off Georgia and it nearly had coach Diego Ormaechea and assistant Marcelo Nicola Horta garrotting each other in celebration.

Come Sunday they may not be in such a contented mood, but they will leave the tournament happy.





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