Georgia U20 – Clermont U20 (France) 36:22


Georgian Under 20’s played a warm-up match against their peers from French ASM Clermont-Auvergne on April 27, in Mikheil Meskhi Stadium. This was an important component of Georgian U20 pre-JWRT preparation plan.

The public, assembled at the stadium, had an opportunity to watch a very good match, with frequent attacks and successful attempts to maintain open play. The French players were much better at passing, but they could hardly confuse Georgian backs, who kept the defense well organized. Georgia mostly managed breakthroughs and efficient, advantageous attacks due to individual players’ efforts. In the beginning of the game, both teams scored drop goals (ours was performed by Goderdzi Chincharauli) and then continued to pile up the score by penalties. Later in the first half it became clear that Georgians were slightly stronger physically than their opponents – we looked better in tackles, rucks and mauls. Our first try was due to this physicality: after a successful lineout in the center of the pitch, the forwards put up a strong attack; no. 8, Levan Tkhelidze, recovered the ball from the scrum, appointed 5 meters away from Clermont’s goal line, and grounded it in the opponent’s in-goal. The next tries were almost the same – the second one started from a scrum, whence the ball was kicked out by no.8 and scooped up by scrum-half, who passed it to a winger and finally prop Zaza Navrozashvili scored the try after a ruck; the third and final try, scored by Chomakhashvili, followed a maul, which formed in the opponent’s 22-meter area. The try scored by the French team was an exquisite one – fly-half kicked the ball diagonally from the center of the pitch, a winger followed it into the in-goal area and grounded it there. Though this beautiful try temporarily leveled the score and put our victory under the risk, the public awarded it with a lengthy applause.

Paata Narimanashvili, head coach of the Georgian Under 20 team, said: “The warm-up match against Clermont U20’s, which is the Champion of France in this age group, was revealing. Unfortunately, we could not play two matches against this team, as initially planned; instead we had to combine two versions of squad line-ups we wanted to test out in two separate games and observe the players in action as much as we could. I expected that we would not be able to maintain wide play – neither the opposing team nor the level of our preparation would allow us to do this. This is why will dedicate the last month remaining until the tournament to the combination play. Until now we were more focused on strength and conditioning, and this reflected on our performance. I would like to note that the defense also played fairly well. Though the backs got lost the grip several times (mostly in the second half), but on the whole the boys did not have many slippages in defense. Kicking is another aspect we should work on. Overall, this game against Clermont showed us our strengths and weaknesses very clearly. Now we have one more month ahead of us, and I hope that the Georgian team will fulfill all its goals at the Junior World Rugby Trophy.”


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