Key Clash Preview: Georgia v Romania

Date: 28th September 2011
Time: 7.30pm NZT/ 7.30am BST
Venue: Palmerston North
Official: Dave Pearson ENG

Georgia:

This is Georgia’s second to last game in the pool stages; their final one comes against Argentina on the 2nd October. They have yet to win a game in the competition, and have been eyeing this particular clash since the pool groups were announced. Unlike their bigger counterparts they have not been troubled by any injury, and their head coach Richie Dixon has stuck with a tried and tested method; choosing ten players in this squad who took part in the last match against Romania back in March.

Romania:

After fielding what most regarded as a second string team against England on Saturday, the Romanians are back to full strength, as coach Romeo Stefan Gontineac has made eleven changes to his side. Marius Tincu returns to the starting fifteen, after watching the England game from the bench. Like Georgia, Romania came into the group eyeing this match as the must win game.

What to Expect:

So far with this world cup, the smaller teams have provided us with some of the best games; fast paced and well fought battles that have not failed to generate excitement amongst those watching. Hopefully this one will be the same. Both sides have strong packs, and some real bulk in their players. This should be a game of big hits and physical rugby.

All Eyes On:

Merab Kvirikashvilli: The Georgian fly half who kicked nine of the eighteen points Georgia scored in their last encounter with Romania. Demonstrated his kicking ability in atrocious conditions against Scotland, and then again against England. With the forwards battling it out during this game, it is likely that he will be called upon to kick for points whenever Georgia have the chance.

Marin Dumbrava: The Romanian fly half is one of only two of the backs to survive from the team that ran out against England. He missed out on the match against Argentina, and will no doubt be looking to help his team to victory against their old enemy.

Head to Head: David Khinchagishvili vs Mihaita Lazar

The loose head props go head to head as part of what will, no doubt, be a monumental forwards effort. Khinchagishvili has the upper hand, with experience and a considerable strength over his counterpart. Both are fearsome players and gave Scotland’s scrum a hard time in their respective games, making this forward battle a key part of the match.

Last Result:

The last time these two teams met was back in March. Georgia took the victory with a seven-point lead. Georgia 18 – 11 Romania.

Weather:

Cloudy, with a chance of rain. 14° with a northwesterly wind.

Prediction:

Both teams can beat each other, they both know it, and they will both be throwing everything at it to ensure that they emerge the winners. Romania have won more games between the two, but Georgia have an edge having won four out of the last five matches that they have played. I think that this confidence will win out on the day Georgia by 7.

by Christine Lester