IRB Tbilisi Cup 2014 round one kicks off this Saturday

13-Jun-2014

The Tbilisi Cup will commence this Saturday, 14th June in the Georgian capital as Spain, Emerging Italy, Argentina Jaguars and Georgia battle it out in the round-robin competition.

The tournament, part of the IRB’s ongoing commitment to increase the competition schedule for Tier Two nations, will be played across three match days (June 14, 18 and 22) and will kick-off on Saturday evening at 17.00 local time when European Nations Cup rivals Georgia meet Spain at Avchala Stadium.

The Tournament, which is funded by the International Rugby Board, plays a very important high-performance role for participating nations and for the ongoing growth of Rugby in Georgia. This is the second year the competition has been staged after the success of last year's inaugural competition which saw South African President's XV take the spoils.

IRBTC 2014 Media Launch

PHOTO GALLERY >>>

Coaches and captains from the four competing nations assembled in Tbilisi on Thursday afternoon for the pre-tournament press conference and photo-call.  

The hosts will open the tournament with a round one match against Spain. The two teams last met in the  European Nations Cup in March 2014 in Madrid where the Georgians were victorious by 24 points to 17.

Georgia Coach Milton Haig, cannot wait for the action to get underway. He said: “We are missing a few frontline players but this is a chance for us to grow our side and create more depth. There is still plenty of experience in our squad this year and the team understands our expectations. It is important we get off to a good start against Spain on Saturday in what will be a tough first game."

Spain Coach Santiago Santos is using the tournament to grow his squad. He said: "Our focus now is building for the World Cup in 2015. It is a pleasure to be here and competing against Georgia, Italy and Argentina. The players' will give it their best, we have our first game against Georgia which we know will be tough.

Pablo Feijoo, scrum half and captain of the Spanish squad knows that his side will have their work cut out in their opening match against the host team. "It is a really tough game to start, we are here to build a team in the lead up to the World Cup in 2019, we have not qualified for the World Cup next year so we need to target 2019. We have a young, inexperienced side but we will be courageous, confident and fight against Georgia. We know it will be a tough game but we are here to develop our rugby and improve as well."

At 19.00 Emerging Italy and Argentina Jaguars will battle it out in what is sure to be a fiercely contested fixture. The Italians claimed a 26-6 win in the last outing between the two countries at the 2013 IRB Nations Cup in Bucharest, so the Jaguars will be seeking revenge in the second match of the evening.

Emerging Italy inside centre and captain Tommaso Castello is part of a very young squad taking part in the Tbilisi Cup. "We are well motivated by this tournament and want to do well. It will be a difficult and physical first game against the Jaguars, they are an aggressive team so it is important we impose our game and physicality on the contest." 

The Italians will be coached by Andrea Cavinato who explained that the squad is made up of domestic players with the majority under the age of 23. "We are looking long term with this player group to see who might be able to compete in 2019 or perhaps next year in England. We will try to play our rugby and play well.

Bernado Urdaneta, coach of Argentina Jaguars has challenged his squad to grow as a group throughout the tournament. "It is an opportunity for our players to show what they can do on an international level, so it is a good competition to develop the team and do our best in each game."

IRB Tbilisi Cup 2014 Fixtures (all times are local)

 

Saturday, June 14

17:00 - Georgia v Spain 
19:00 - Emerging Italy v Argentina Jaguars

 

Wednesday, June 18

17:00 - Georgia v Argentina Jaguars 
19:00 - Emerging Italy v Spain

 

Sunday, June 22

17:00 - Georgia v Emerging Italy
19:00 - Argentina Jaguars v Spain

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