Georgian 7s to play in lyon this weekend


Georgian 7-aside national team is going to take part in the second leg of Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens to be played in Lyon this weekend. Before presenting you the tournament stats and the results of the first leg, there is a couple of points we would like to detail on.

These days Matthew Janney, an English midfielder with Georgian roots, joined the Lelos at their training camp in Shevardeni Base.


Georgian Grandfather

Matthew was born and raised in England. He started to play rugby at the age of 6 in Richmond RFC. Matthew’s first rugby position was scrum half, later on he changed to center. His family story started in 1921, when Matthew’s ancestor migrated to England. “In my childhood, grandmother told me we came from Eastern Europe, allegedly from Russia. She could not give me more detail. My grandfather was not alive by that time. This did not satisfy me; as I grew up, I tried to learn more about my origin. My uncle and I spent a great deal of time to find out that Grandfather was from Tbilisi and his real family name was Janashvili.”


Matthew Janney

Born on: 23/07/1992

Playing position: 12/13

Home club: Oxford University Rugby Club


Some time ago Matthew addressed the Georgian Rugby Union. He told us about his old wish to visit Georgia and play rugby for his country of origin. With the assistance of the Georgian Rugby Union he applied to World Rugby in order to claim his right. Though his first application was turned down due to the lack of supporting documents, he did not give up and hired a lawyer who along with Georgian Rugby Union helped him collect relevant proof and make another attempt a year later. This time, World Rugby found the support information presented by Matthew satisfactory and granted him the right to play for Georgia. Though it should be noted that Matthew had been offered to play for Russia earlier. “During one of my seasons in Oxford we played Russia. Oxford lost that match, though I got the Man of the Match. After the game my coach told his Russian colleague that my grandfather had Russian roots (back then I had not yet discovered I was from Georgia by origin)”. The Russians tried to find records on my lineage, and it was by that time we identified Georgia as my country of origin). From that moment on my only thought was to find a way to play for Georgia.”


Matthew to play for the Lelos in Lyon

It is already a week that Matthew arrived to Georgia and started to train. Though he has entered the Tbilisi Cup training camp together with the senior national team, he prepares for playing in Lyon as member of Georgia 7-aside team. Both 15-aside and 7-aside national team coaches are satisfied with Matthew’s preparation level, skills and abilities. He is a quick, strong and technical player.

“It will be good to see Matt in our 7’s team in Lyon. This will give us a much clearer idea on his abilities. Matt joined the 15-aside national team training camp a week ago and made a very good impression on us so far.

“It is our general rule to have senior 15-aside national team candidates play in another selection first. Matt’s participation in the 7-aside tournament serves the same goal: for us to consider him as a 15-aside national team member, we need to observe his performance in the 7-s team,” said National Coach Milton Haig.

For Matthew putting on the Lelos’ jersey is a huge responsibility and fulfillment of his old dream. “I feel really lucky. The opportunity to play in the Lelos’ jersey is something I greatly respect and feel responsible about. Entering the pitch as Georgia 7-aside or 15-aside member is not just a crucially important step up in my rugby career, but an opportunity to reunite with my ancestors,” said Matthew Janney.

Georgian time


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