Key Clash Preview: Scotland v Georgia

Date: 14th September 2011
Time: 19.30 NZST/ 8.30am BST
Venue: Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill

Ringing in the changes from the team that played against Romania, Andy Robinson has utilised his 30-man squad to reflect the short turnaround between games. Only 4 players have survived the cut, and Robinson had stressed that this is not in any way related to performance against Romania, but about playing two strong teams that
will get the best results from the games.

Some Scottish fans may be already holding their breath thanks to the fact that both Lamont brothers are playing. Usually when this happens, one of them tends to get injured. Rory Lamont comes in at fullback, and Sean Lamont moves from the centre position he played on Saturday out to the wing.

Rory Lawson takes the captaincy, and Kelly Brown moves over to take the Number 8 position from Richie Vernon, who is on the bench. Dan Parks makes his start at fly-half, while Scott Lawson and Euan Murray come in at hooker and tighthead to support Allan Jacobsen in the front row.

The only Pool B team not in action at the weekend, Georgia have had a chance to watch, and plan accordingly. As such they will have seen how Romania overcame the Scottish pack to score some tries. Their starting 22 is certainly one with strength in the forwards.

With 13 of their team playing their club rugby in France, we can also expect to see a lot of pace from the backs.

What to expect:
Another battle of the packs. The Georgian pack is stronger than the Romanian pack, and with Scotland looking to move away from an embarrassing opener they will be looking to assert an early dominance over the game, maintaining it the whole way through this time.

All Eyes On:
Euan Murray: His selection in the starting 15 has caused some debate. Some feel that with his wide-ranging experience gained over the years of playing not just for Scotland, but for the Lions as well, will bring a steadiness and strength to the front row. Others feel that perhaps he has peaked as a player and is not the solution to the problem.

Either way this is Murray’s only opportunity to attract notice and earn a starting place against England, as the next fixture against Argentina is on a Sunday. He will need to be a driving force in the scrum and in the set pieces to make an impact on the game.

Mamuka Gorgodze: Given the nickname “Gorgodzilla” by his team mates at Montpellier, so this should give you some idea of his build. Holding the record in Georgia for the number of international tries (18) demonstrates his skill. He has already attracted the notice of the French, as they voted him the best foreign player in
the Top 14 last year.

You will notice him on the pitch; he stands 6ft 5inches tall, is deceptively fast, and can be a human wrecking ball. Should definitely make things interesting.

Head to Head – the scrum-halves Rory Lawson and Irakli Abuseridze

Rory Lawson is captaining the Scotland side, and Irakli Abuseridze is captaining Georgia. Lawson has captained the Scottish side on three occasions prior to this, and all have seen Scotland come away with the victory.

Both players are very much players who will lead from the front, setting an example for the team. They also have a very similar style of attacking play, which should certainly make this an interesting battle.

Abuseridze stands half an inch taller, but Lawson is 15kg heavier, and will no doubt use this extra bulk to advantage, Lawson is also the more inexperienced international player, 21 caps to the Georgian’s 58.

Max 12 degrees, cloudy with a chance of rain/sleety showers. So just like Scotland!


Scotland have had their wake up call, and the advantage of a game under their belts, whereas this is Georgia’s first game in the competition. I feel that the Scottish determination to secure a solid victory will prevail in this game, although I do think that Georgia will make them work incredibly hard for it and rack up a few points themselves.

Scotland by 7.

By Christine Lester