All Blacks take on 'Gorgodzila'

2015-10-02 09:16
Mamuka Gorgodze (Gallo)

Cardiff - New Zealand try ace Waisake Naholo returns from a broken leg to Test duty at the Rugby World Cup on Friday having to take on Georgia's man mountain Mamuka Gorgodze.

The All Blacks, who will have Naholo playing alongside Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, are looking for a big win to reinforce their credentials as tournament favourites.

Georgia, 15th in the world, have rested many of their best players for what they consider their 'final' against Namibia next Wednesday. They harbour hopes of taking third place in Pool C and direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup.

But they have not rested Gorgodze, or "Gorgodzila" as he is affectionately known.

Ahead of Saturday's high profile clashes between England and Australia and South Africa against Scotland, followers of rugby artistry will follow the New Zealand game to see whether Naholo, 24, is the star to pick up All Black's torch when the Carters and McCaws have gone.

This year's top try scorer in Super Rugby with the Highlanders broke his leg just 10 weeks before the start of the World Cup.

But he returned to his native Fiji for a traditional medicine treatment with a special leaf that sparked a high speed recovery.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has refused to talk about an unnatural recovery.

"There's been a lot of talk about a miracle cure but he's comeback when we expected him to come back," Hansen said Thursday.

"He's not a witch-doctor, not a doctor, all he knows is his leg is right," Hansen said. "We know his leg is right because he's had it X-rayed."

New Zealand want to see how the hot young prospect can play in the World Cup in a match that the defending champions should easily win.- Massive man -

But New Zealand admit they will have to look out for Georgia's uncompromising captain Gorgodze.

The All Blacks have been doing their homework on Gorgodzila.

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

Gorgodze 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 waited 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.

That victory has fuelled Georgia's hopes of coming third in Pool C.

"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 back-rower 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.

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