Georgia are currently preparing for their second Rugby World Cup, aiming to break their duck by winning a game. Lining up in Pool D with France, Ireland, Argentina and Namibia, they will be satisfied with one win and it won’t be France, Ireland or Argentina that they will be targeting.
In 2003, the Eastern Europeans faced England, South Africa, Samoa and Uruguay and were distraught not to beat the South Americans in the battle of the minnows. This time, coach Malkhaz Tcheishvili is determined to defeat Uruguay in his sides own World Cup Final.
The team was a favourite of the Australian crowd in the last tournament, and they are sure to acquire some support in France – the majority of their players play in the French league system, and all of their games will be played in France.
The coach has developed a determined defensive system that will not be easy to breach, but they lack penetration in attack. They will no doubt take heart then from Jake White’s assertion that defences win World Cups.
Tcheishvili is a graduate of the Georgia National Dance Studios and starred for the Soviet Union – and later Georgia following their independence in 1989 – thanks to his exceptional footwork.
Back row forward Rati Urushadze will be looking to make an impact after missing out through injury four years ago. 17 stone of vodka-drinking, siberia-dwelling eastern european is enough to strike fear into any man, and he can play a bit as well.