Black Sea Cup Goes to Batumi

George Nijaradze passes the Black Sea Cup trophy to Batumi XV centre Gocha Khonelidze. Photo by Badri Ketiladze

Everything started with the fact that Black Sea Cup, organized by the Georgian Rugby Union, proved a successful tournament both from the sports and organizational points of view. The trophy was contested by three Georgian, two Romanian and one Ukrainian teams, all of which played surprisingly spectacular rugby. Black Sea Cup matches attracted considerable amount of spectators and media representatives.
Black Sea Cup was an important experience for all participant teams. The tournament brought to the fore many talented young players, who will surely appear in the national teams of Georgia, Romania and Ukraine in the nearest future. As regards Georgian clubs and coaches – we should say that they do not have much playing exposure at such level; participation in international tournaments of this kind will greatly contribute to improving of their performance. Fortunately for Georgian rugby fans, both of Black Sea Cup finalists were local teams: Tbilisi-based Lelo and west-Georgian Batumi-XV. The final game was very interesting: opponents played at a high speed and kept the tension unabated until the end of the match. During the first half, Batumi scored a converted try and two penalties, to which Lelo answered with three successful penalty kicks, raising the half-time score to 13-12. In the second half Lelo further increased the score due to three consecutive sin-bins earned by Batumi XV players, but these latter retained their composure in spite of playing with smaller numbers and made several dangerous though unsuccessful breakthrough.

Black Sea Cup winners – Batumi XV and runners-up - Lelo

Finally, at the 75th minute, when one of Lelo players also got sin-binned for handling the ball in the ruck, Batumi XV made it to the opponent’s in-goal area. Due to this last, unconverted try, the second half ended in a draw – 18-18; it seemed that Lelo would use the extra time to their advantage, but their kicker missed a difficult penalty kick and the final score – 21-18, was defined by a penalty scored by Batumi XV on the very last minute of extra time.
Tournament trophy – bronze sculpture of Poseidon, made by famous Georgian sculptor Gia Japaridze, was awarded to Batumi XV players by president of Georgian Rugby Union George Nijaradze – this was the final stroke of a tournament, which we can justly describe as still another successful breakthrough in history of Georgian rugby.


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