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All Blacks wary of 'Gorgodzilla'

2015-10-01 17:29

Cardiff - Georgia may be an unknown quantity for the All Blacks, but they are certainly aware of "Gorgodzilla", their uncompromising captain Mamuka Gorgodze.

Richie McCaw said 99 percent of the All Blacks preparation for Friday's Pool C clash at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff has been on getting their own game right.

But, the players have let it be known there has been homework on the behemoth Gorgodze.

Liam Messam, kept out of the match by a calf injury, described the Toulon loose forward as a "massive man and a brutal man."

His body bears the scars that come with 12 years of Test rugby in which he has built a reputation as a fearsome warrior, although there have been times his commitment to the cause has proved costly.

He is seventh on the all-time list of players sin-binned in Test matches. When he was yellow-carded in Georgia's pool match against Argentina the score ballooned out from 14-9 to 35-9 as the Pumas scored three converted tries while he cooled his heels on the sideline.

But he was the hero in their opening win against Tonga, scoring from a powerful drive off the back of a ruck to give them a half-time lead on their way to a 17-10 victory.

His contribution was not just his sheer strength but also the way he tirelessly chased down the Tongans to finish with a match-high 24 tackles.

"He's certainly the key man in their group. He loves to get them some go forward so it will be a good battle," said New Zealand backrower Kieran Read who will be dwarfed by the 1.96 metres (6ft 5in) and 118 kilos (260lb) giant.

Gorgodze has scored 24 tries in his 63-Test career, and All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock saw him as a potent force close to the line.

"I know they love driving off the lineouts, I think that's where a few of his tries have come from."

The All Blacks ability to defend the lineout drive has been exposed at times this year and it is an area they expect Georgia to target.

"The Georgians are pretty big men and they love the contact area and that's the key to winning Test matches really, getting that right at the breakdown or when you're carrying the ball or defensively," All Black skipper Richie McCaw said.

With Gordodze listed to wear the seven jersey on Friday it will put flyhalf Dan Carter directly in his sights and he will be looking to McCaw, Read and Jerome Kaino to provide cover.

With Carter the only one of the All Blacks' three flyhalves to be injury free the last thing they need is to have him pulverised by Gorgodze.

"Hopefully he will be having to go back before he comes forward," the All Blacks playmaker said.

"But he is an awesome player and being able to see what he's been capable of in the first couple of games, he's a real weapon in their side."

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