Georgian Rugby

November 06 2017


Georgia Rugby - The Lelos
©

Georgia Squad for November Tests: A Review of Georgian Rugby Ahead of Canada Test on Saturday


When you look at the Georgian and Canadian rugby men's XVs programs, you see two programs going in opposite directions. If you go back to the first offical World Rugby rankings in October 2003 you see Canada ranked 16th and Georgia ranked 17th, if you fast forward to the present you see Canada ranked 24th and Georgia ranked 12th.

Georgia played their first official test on September 12 1989 where they defeated Zimbabwe 10-3. Canada's rugby history goes back much further than that but in 1989 we were thumping USA in the qualifier for the 1991 World Cup and losing to Ireland by 3 points (21-24). The Canada squad that year had names like Mark Wyatt, Gareth Rees, Bobby Ross, Tom Woods, Norm Hadley, Glen Ennis, Gord MacKinnon, Eddie Evans, John Graf, Steve Gray, Roy Radu - names still well known in the rugby community. Georgia didn't get into their first world cup until 2003.

Georgia were part of the Soviet Union before its breakup, they weren't admitted as a separate iRB member until 1992. Russia's rugby strength took a hit as a result as about 40 rugby clubs were within Georgia's borders.

Georgia's top domestic league is called the Big 10 (Didi 10), 5 of the clubs are in Tblisi where they will host Canada on Saturday. They've had crowds as large as 65,000 to watch Georgia play their nemesis Russia.

Many of the Georgian players ply their trade in France in the professional leagues, but it's interesting that looking at the 32 man squad for the November tests, the backs are mostly from the domestic league, the forwards are mostly from the French pro leagues. Georgia are renowned for their forwards and 13 of the 17 named are playing in France professionally, one is from the domestic Georgian league, two are playing professionally in England and one in the Russian leagues. Analyzing the 15 backs named, 10 are from the domestic Georgian league, three are playing pro in France, two in the Russian leagues.

In order to appreciate how far Georgia has progressed as a rugby nation consider they tied Luxembourg 10-10 in 1993, they beat Switzerland by one point in 1994. There are accounts of a NZ coach, Ross Meurant, going over in 1997 and finding the national team only had only two practice balls and the coach's wife was sewing the tackle bags from denim and stuffing them with rubber. They didn't have a lot of resources. Even in 2009 Canada were thumping them by +32 in the Churchill Cup. Recent results though show the Georgian program has made great advances to reach the top 12 in the world. Games between the countries over the last decade have been close affairs.

June 2017 Georgia 13 - Canada 0
Sept 2015 Canada 16 - Georgia 15
Nov 2013 Georgia 19 - Canada 15
June 2012 Canada 31 - Georgia 12
Nov 2010 Georgia 22 - Canada 15
June 2009 Canada 42 - Georgia 10

Here is the write up from Georgian rugby plus their 32 man list of 15 backs and 17 forwards.

from Georgia Rugby

After the 3 weeks “French Camp” The Lelos are back home at Shevvardeny High Performance base in Tbilisi, where team started their camp for TBC Rugby Series 2017 today. Haig named experienced squad for TBC Rugby Series 2017, which includes two uncapped U20 graduates Mirian Modebadze and Giorgi Kveseladze, who last played for Junior Lelos at World Rugby U20 Championship 2017 in Georgia.

“We are very happy to announce a very strong squad for the November 'TBC Rugby Series', and apart from 2 or 3 players who are unavailable because of injury, we consider we have all of our most experienced players” – says Haig

Haig further talks about the importance of TBC Rugby Series tests against Canada and USA taking place on November 11 at Dinamo Arena and on November 25 at Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi, Georgia:

“November is always a very tough campaign with very good teams as opposition and this year is no different. Although we played against both Canada and USA in June and won both those games, we know they will come to Georgia seeking revenge and with a more determined will to beat us.

“This for us is a good challenge and if we get complacent about these teams that is exactly what will happen. It’s our goal to improve our quality of play from June and play good attacking rugby that our fans can be proud of”

“Obviously the game against Wales is a huge event and opportunity for not only those directly involved, but also for the whole of Georgian rugby. They are an iconic team and we will be playing in an iconic stadium, one we have been to before during the 2015 RWC match against the World Champions, the All Blacks.

“We played well that night and we want to again improve our playing ability against one of the best teams in the World, which Wales are!

“We are ready to create something special and we have worked hard to create the right environment so the players can play at their best. It’s time we believe we can do that and go out onto the field and achieve history for Georgian Rugby” – says Haig.


BACKS [POSITION, NAME, TEAM, BIRTH YEAR, CAPS, STATS]

FB
Merab KVIRIKASHVILI
Lelo Saracens Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]
1983
106
16T 147C 150P 3D [833 pt] 5SB

FB
Beka TSIKLAURI
Lokomotivi Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]
1989
27
4T 11C 15P 2D [93 pt]

FB
Mirian MODEBADZE
Aia Kutaisi [GEO Big 10]
1997 0
:

WI
Sandro TODUA
Lelo Saracens Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]
1987
67
7T 2SB

WI
Soso MATIASHVILI
Akademia Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]
1993 3
2T 2C [14 pt]

WI
Giorgi KVESELADZE
Armazi Marneuli [GEO Big 10]
1997 0
:

CE
Davit KATCHARAVA
Enisey Krasnoyarsk [RUS Super]
1985
102
22T [4 Capt] 2SB

CE
Merab SHARIKADZE
Aurillac [FRA Pro D2]
1993
54
10T [7 Capt]

CE
Giorgi KOSHADZE
Kharebi Rustavi [GEO Big 10]
1996
6
4T

FH
Lasha MALAGHURADZE
Krasny Yar Krasnoyarsk [RUS Super]
1986
78
4T 40C 25P 3D [184 pt] 2SB

FH
Lasha KHMALADZE
Lelo Saracens Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]
1988
56
7T 4C [43 pt]

FH
Revaz JINTCHVELASHVILI
Armazi Marneuli [GEO Big 10]
1995
3
:

HB
Giorgi BEGADZE
Lokomotivi Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]
1986
58
2SB

HB
Vasil LOBZHANIDZE
Brive [FRA Top 14]
1996
24
5T

HB
Gela APRASIDZE
Montpellier [FRA Top 14]
1998
2
:

FORWARDS [POSITION, NAME, TEAM, BIRTH YEAR, CAPS, STATS]

LH
Mikheil NARIASHVILI
Montpellier [FRA Top 14]
1990
44
2T SB

LH
Zurab ZHVANIA
Stade Français [FRA Top 14]
1991
28
8T 2SB

LH
Kakha ASIESHVILI
Brive [FRA Top 14]
1987
27
2T

HK
Jaba BREGVADZE
Krasny Yar Krasnoyarsk [RUS Super]
1987
46
T 2SB

HK
Shalva MAMUKASHVILI
Carcassonne [FRA Pro D2]
1990 46
4T

TH
Levan CHILACHAVA
Toulon [FRA Top 14]
1991
32
3T

TH
Soso BEKOSHVILI
Brive [FRA Top 14]
1993
8
:

TH
Lasha TABIDZE
Bordeaux Begles [FRA Top 14]
1997
4
:

LK
Giorgi CHKHAIDZE
Domon [FRA Fed2]
1981
97
10T [1 Capt] 6SB

LK
Giorgi NEMSADZE
Bristol [ENG Champ]
1984
73
12T 5SB

LK
Kote MIKAUTADZE
Montpellier [FRA Top 14]
1991
51
2T 3SB

BR
Shalva SUTIASHVILI
Angoulême [FRA Pro D2]
1984
62
2T [15 Capt] 3SB

BR
Vito KOLELISHVILI
Clermont [FRA Top 14]
1989
41
4T [1 Capt] 2RC 5SB

BR
Giorgi TKHILAISHVILI
Batumi [GEO Big 10]
1991
38
10T SB

BR
Lasha LOMIDZE
London Irish [ENG Prem]
1992
33
5T + S SB

BR
Beka BITSADZE
Narbonne [FRA Pro D2]
1991
22
6T + S

BR
Giorgi TSUTSKIRIDZE
Brive [FRA Top 14]
1996
6
SB

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