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Georgia

Published: 1:14PM Tuesday April 19, 2011 Source: ONE Sport

  • Grigol Labadze of Georgia during the 2007 World Cup (Source: Photosport)
    Grigol Labadze of Georgia during the 2007 World Cup - Source: Photosport

Georgia (Pool B)
Best World Cup Performance: Pool Phase (2003, 2007)
Last World Cup: Pool Phase
Current IRB Ranking: 14
TAB Odds: $5,000

World Cup Pedigree
Now recognised as the seventh best team in Europe, Georgia have been one of the big movers in world rugby over the past decade. They first qualified for a World Cup in 2003 and walked away disappointed after losing all four of their pool matches. In 2007 they performed strongly, holding Argentina to 6-3 at halftime and then nearly upset Ireland before narrowly going down by 14-10.

Road to the World Cup
Georgia qualified for their third consecutive World Cup by beating Spain 17-9 in the semi-finals in the 2010 European Nations Cup and then ensured their place in Pool B with a emotionally charged 36-8 thumping of Russia in Turkey, after the two nations had been at war just two years before.

Recent Form
Georgia may soon have a case for promotion and relegation between the Six Nations and the European Nations Cup. They have now won the second tier competition on three occasions in the last four years - winning 22 out of 25 Tests. In June's IRB Nations Cup in Romania, Georgia were initially overpowered 31-17 by the eventual champions, the South African Kings, before edging the Argentina Jaguars 14-13 and then Namibia 23-18 to finish second.

Star Player

Davit Kubriashvili:
The 122kg, 25-year-old tighthead is young in prop years but already he is making quite the name for himself. He is currently on the roster of big spending French club Toulon and impressed so much that he relegated former All Black Carl Hayman to the bench. In May this year he was selected to play for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham.

Something you probably didn't know
One of their other props, Goderdzi Shvelidze who plays for Montpellier in France, reportedly had two of his fingers bitten off during a match. 

Chance of winning the World Cup
None but Georgia could surprise in its performance. Like most Eastern European Nations their real strength is at the set-piece and with veteran halfback and captain Irakli Abuseridze calling the shots expect them to play an efficient 10-man game. Will it be enough to knock over the likes of Argentina and Scotland? Probably not but it could be well worth a watch.

Georgia's World Cup Squad

Forwards: Dimitri Basilaia, Givi Berishvili, Jaba Bregvadze, George Chkhaidze, Levan Datunashvili, Akvsenti Giorgadze, Mamuka Gorgodze, Vasil Kakovin, Davit Khinchagishvili, Viktor Kolelishvili, Davit Kubriashvili, Vakhtang Maisuradze, Giorgi Nemsadze, Goderdzi Shvelidze, Shalva Sutiashvili, Ilia Zedginidze, Davit Zirakashvili.

Backs: Irakli Abuseridze (captain), Irakli Chkhikvadze, Revaz Gigauri, Lekso Gugava, Davit Kacharava, Lasha Khmaladze, Merab Kvirikashvili, Irakli Machkhaneli, Lasha Malaguradze, Bidzina Samkharadze, Alexander Todua, Malkhaz Urjukashvili, Tedore Zibzibadze.

Georgia's World Cup History

1987 World Cup New Zealand/Australia  
- Didn't qualify

1991 Rugby World Cup UK/Ireland/France  
- Didn't qualify

1995 World Cup South Africa  
- Didn't qualify

1999 World Cup UK/Ireland/France  
- Didn't qualify

2003 World Cup Australia  
12 Oct 2003: England beat Georgia 84-6 in Perth (Pool C)
19 Oct 2003: Samoa beat Georgia 46-9 in Perth (Pool C)
24 Oct 2003: South Africa beat Georgia 46-19 in Sydney (Pool C)
28 Oct 2003: Uruguay beat Georgia 24-12 in Sydney (Pool C)

2007 World Cup France/UK  
11 Sep 2007: Argentina beat Georgia 33-3 in Lyon (Pool D)
15 Sep 2007: Ireland beat Georgia 15-10 in Bordeaux (Pool D)
26 Sep 2007: Georgia beat Namibia 30-0 in Lens (Pool D)
30 Sep 2007: France beat Georgia 64-7 in Marseille (Pool D)

Most Appearances: Akvsenti Giorgadze, Merab Kvirikashvili - 8 matches
Highest Point Scorer: Merab Kvirikashvili (4 matches - 23 points - 4 conversions, 5 penalties)
Top try scorers: David Dadunashvili, Akvsenti Giorgadze, Davit Kacharava, Irakli Machkhaneli, Zviad Maisuradze, Giorgi Shkinin - 1 try

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