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2010-10-25 19:47

Nickname: The Lelos (Try)

Captain: Irakli Abuseridze

Coach: Richard Dixon

RWC Appearances:
2 (First in 2003)

Best result: One Match Win, 2007

The small, ex-Soviet state of Georgia, although participating in their third World Cup in 2011, are  currently considered a third tier rugby union team by the International Rugby Board.

The sport was first introduced to Georgia in 1928 but did not gain a substantial following until the mid 1960's and then experienced another drop in popularity after the country seceded from the Soviet Union in 1990.

Two years after declaring independence, the newly formed country was granted membership of the IRB and since then rugby's following in Georgia has grown exponentially and is now as popular as soccer.

Georgia qualified for their first Rugby World Cup after beating Russia in the a crunch European Nations cup game in front of 45 000 fans and were subsequently grouped with Samoa, South Africa, Uruguay and England. The team lost all four of their games and conceded a total of 192 points while only scoring 46.

The Lelos (derived from the Georgian word for “try”) were a much improved side when they arrived at the 2007 World Cup in France and even managed to record their first victory at the tournament. Georgia comfortably beat Namibia 30 - 0 after losing their first two games to Argentina (33-3) and Ireland (14-10) and before suffering another defeat to France (64-7).

Georgia built on that sole victory and went on to win the 2007/2008 and 2008/2010 European Nations Cup. The side have transformed from rank amateurs, who famously made scrum machines from old Soviet tractors because they lacked resources, to an experienced team with several full professionals plying their trade in the French Top 14 and leagues.

Having cemented their position as the best European team outside of the Six Nations, Georgia will be hoping to pick up at least one more victory at the World Cup.


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.

Key Player

Merab Kvirikashvili
Height: 1.75m
Weight: 78kgs

One of Georgia's most experienced players, with two World Cups under his belt, flyhalf Kvirikashvili will hope to get his backline firing at the 2011 Rugby World Cup


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