Pre-match Press-conference and Captains’ Photo-call


World Rugby Tbilisi Cup will kick-off this Saturday (13 June) in the Georgian capital as players from Georgia, Uruguay, Emerging Ireland and Emerging Italy look to challenge for Rugby World Cup Squads selection. 


The tournament, part of World Rugby's ongoing commitment to increase the competition schedule for tier two and tier three nations, will be played across three match days (13, 17 and 21) starting on Saturday evening with hosts Georgia taking on fellow Rugby World Cup qualifiers Uruguay at Avchala Stadium. 


Now in its third edition, the competition serves as perfect preparation for Georgia and Uruguay as they start their Rugby World Cup preparations with less than 100 days to go until the start of the year's biggest sporting event. 


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


Georgian Coach Milton Haig, who will lead his side into battle against New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Namibia in RWC pool C later this year, spoke to us ahead of the tournament. He said: "This is great preparation for us and allows us to add another level of player to the group. We have new guys who will be making their debuts in this tournament and that's because we have looked at positional strengths and have identified that in certain positions where we are lighter, we want to ensure players are ready to step in if required later in the year. Most of our Top 14 players rest during this tournament. At the end of the competition the players get a week off and then it is into Rugby World Cup camp, so this is the start of a very busy three months."


Uruguay Coach, Pablo Lemoine knows this tournament will serve as a good indicator ahead of Rugby World Cup squad selection. He said: "This competition comes at a good time for us as we get closer to making a decision on the Rugby World Cup squad. We have brought players here to develop and improve and to see if they have the potential to play at the World Cup. We have three really tough games here, starting with Georgia on Saturday. It will be very physical and give us a really good idea of where we are leading into the World Cup."


Emerging Italy and Emerging Ireland meet in the 17 00 kick-off on Saturday looking to see which players can prove they have the capabilities to step into their respective senior squads. 

Emerging Italy Coach, Umberto Casellato, said: "We are very happy to be here. This is our second time in Tbilisi and the squad are looking forward to the tournament. We have brought a young squad made up of players playing in the domestic league in Italy. The tournament will act as a development tool for these young players and allow them a chance to grow into international rugby with an eye on the 2019 Rugby World Cup. 


Allen Clarke, Emerging Ireland Coach, alluded to the fact that Rugby World Cup training squad places are still available and that this tournament gives players on the fringe of the senior squad a chance to stake their claim. 


He said "The tournament has been very profitable in determining the future of young men into the professional ranks and indeed the senior team. We have been together for a week and the squad has gelled together pretty well. Our purpose is two fold; in the short term their are a number of players who will be putting their hands up for the World Cup squad, a number of positions have been kept open, with a number of players looking to break into that squad. In the longer term we are looking at the development of all the players against good opposition."


As little as two days are left until the kick-off of World Rugby Tbilisi Cup 2015. Traditionally, the teams will have their Captain’s Runs in Avchala Rugby Stadium on June 12. 

Uruguay will have the first Captain’s Run at 10 a.m. to be followed by Emerging Ireland at 11 a.m. Later on, LevanDatunashvili will lead the team at the Lelos Captain’s Run at 5 p.m. Emerging Italy will have its Captain’s Run in Martkopi Stadium at 10 a.m. on June 13.



Georgian time


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