Georgia squad for June internationals

27-May-2016

Georgia’s historic first ever pacific tour is less than month away. For the first time in Georgian Rugby history The Lelos join the full Summer International schedule and travel to Islands to play tests against Samoa, Tonga and Fiji with the fixtures taking place on 11th 18th and 24 of June respectively.

 

Being able to play against strong opposition in summer is panicle for Georgian Rugby’s development according Milton Haig, The Lelos’ kiwi head coach, who has been coaching national team since 2012 and took them through successful RWC 2015 and won five European Nations Cup titles, four of them with Grand Slam.

 

“Obviously it is a very important stage of our development. It is historic for Georgian Rugby, because we never been to Islands before, so this is our first venture. It is the first time we would have played all three Pacific Islands teams in the Pacific. We are very excited about it and we know it will be very difficult. It is going to be a very tough task to beat Samoa, Tonga and Fiji at their home but this is a kind of environment we need to be in so that we can improve.”

 

First to Samoa

“Samoa have named a very experienced squad. They have got lots of returning members from the last year’s World Cup, as all teams have actually. I think that Samoa were very unlucky in a couple of games at the World Cup. The fact that they won only one game is misleading. They could have won against Scotland and they performed very well against South Africa too. It’s going to be our first game down there. There will be some logistical, travel difficulties that we will have. But we are getting there as early as we can and we’ll prepare here as well as we can and let’s see then what can happen in Apia.” Said Milton Haig.

 

Tonga aiming for revenge

“One thing we know is that Tonga will want a revenge on the World Cup defeat – there is no doubt about that. So they are highly motivated. They have a new coach. He won’t have the same baggage I suppose that the previous one had. But again it’ll be a difficult game as Tonga always is. We’ve beat them at the last World Cup - that means nothing at the moment but again we can take confidence from that fact.” Said Haig when previewing teams’ fifth encounter.

 

Finishing the tour with Fiji

According to Haig, the last fixture of the tour when Georgia faces Fiji on June 24  will be the most difficult  - “I think Fiji will be the most difficult side to play. They’ve got game breakers all over the field.  They have the same coaching group they had for the last few years and they have consistency.  They have been one of top ten teams for the last 18 months, so they are very exciting team; very difficult team to defend and they have such a brand of rugby we need to be aware of and technically we need to be prepared.  Again, it will be a big game for us, the last game of the tour.

 

Touring squad

The squad Haig picked for the tour is pretty much the same that played in ENC  last February-March with two uncapped players having a chance to represent Georgia on an international level -  “We’ve got an experienced forwards pack and very experienced backs as well. We’ve added couple of young guys to blood them and give them experience. When you look at this squad in general it’s very experienced and we picked an experienced squad as we know how hard this tour will be.

 

Front Row

“Most of the front row has played through World Cup. There are couple of younger guys and Irakli Mirtskhulava, who has not played for a while. But all of them have been in squad before, they’ve been in the national team and they know what we expect of them. And it’s their opportunity as we don’t have more experienced players there because of the French playoffs.

 

Locks

“In my opinion during the ENC, both Giorgi Nemsadze and Giorgi Chkhaidze were outstanding. They really grew as leaders of our group and again, we are very lucky to have them both on the tour. Nodar Cheishvili has been with the squad since the last ENC. He has trained very well and he was unlucky not to get a couple of starts – he is over two meters and has been in national team for a while but not made it through for long time. Now he trains very well and brings in some physicality.

 

Back Row

“Giorgi Mchedlishvili has worked really well with the national team training group. He has been knocking on the door for some time. Now this his opportunity to play for the national team and show us that all the training that he’s done in last few years paid off – and we are excited to give him this chance.

 

The back row is pretty much experienced – Shalva Sutiashvili, Lasha Lomidze – they both went to the World Cup as well as Giorgi Tkhilaishvili. There is also Saba Shubitidze who was very unlucky not to go to the World Cup. We’ve picked players who absolutely understand our environment and who have been in this environment for a long time.

 

Half backs

“All five nines and tens were involved with national team for some time and even Rezi Jinchvelashvili has been around in our environment for two-three years.  Again if you want to win test matches in Islands, you have to pick experienced half backs. We obviously do not have Vaso with us, because he will be captaining Under 20s team and it is good for the Junior Lelos. We still think our nines and tens are pretty capable and will lead us around the field very well.

 

Centers

“Kacharava and Mchedlidze have played against the All Blacks, and Merab Sharikadze has been our number one 12 for four years so these guys are all very experienced. They will help drive our team and lead us not only on the field but off the field as well. Basically we are very happy about our midfield combination - they are definitely one of our strengths.

 

Wings

“Anzor Sichinava has been in our training group for last eight months. Through the ENC we did not think he was ready but now this is his chance. Let’s just say, he was a very exciting Under 20 player who had a very good World Trophy last year and we think he is ready to take next step to the national team. We are very excited about it as again we are always looking forward to develop younger players and we are certain that young Sichinava has a very big future.

 

Full backs

“If he plays well, Merab Kvirikashvili will reach hundred games, which is not far away. Again, this is another test for him. In his 92 games he has never been down to the Pacific Islands and played all this three teams – this is something new to him. Well, Tsiklauri, everybody knows him well there through the World Cup and his try against the All Blacks, and his club just finished second in Georgian Premiership. We expect a lot from our goal kickers and both of them are very experienced, and we are looking forward to see them play June internationals.

 

Availability of Top 14 players

“As the French Top 14 playoffs schedule features all of our players involved in teams like Clermont, Toulon, Monpelier, Stade Francais etc., will not be available for us within the first week against Samoa. Depending on the knockout situation and who gets knocked out after the first round of the French playoffs, we may then have some players become available, if they are injury free. Some of the players won’t be available to join us as their clubs will continue through the playoffs. It’s exciting for them as well, as they played whole year for their clubs. And during this period you strive to make it in finals and it is important for us as Georgia to support our players.

 

Georgia

2016 TOUR of PACIFIC ISLES

11/06 SAMOA @ Apia    18/06 TONGA @ Suva (Fij)    24/06 FIJI @ Suva

Pos

Player

Club [Lleague]

Born

Caps

Career Stats

 

Backs

 

FB

Merab KVIRIKASHVILI

Montluçon [FRA Fed2]

1983

92

14126C 126P 3D [709 pts] 4SB

FB

Beka TSIKLAURI

Lokomotivi Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]

1989

24

4T 11C 15P 2D [93 pts]

WI

Sandro TODUA

Lelo Saracens Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]

1987

55

7T 2SB

WI

Giorgi PRUIDZE

Aia Kutaisi [GEO Big 10]

1994

8

T

WI

Anzor SITCHINAVA

Akademia [GEO Big 10]

1995

0

:

CE

Davit KATCHARAVA

Enisey Krasnoyarsk [RUS Super]

1985

92

18T [4 Capt] 2SB

CE

Merab SHARIKADZE

Aurillac [FRA Pro D2]

1993

41

8T [1 Capt]

CE

Tamaz MTCHEDLIDZE

Agen [FRA Top 14 >> Pro D2]

1993

39

6T

FH

Lasha MALAGHURADZE

Krasny Yar Krasnoyarsk [RUS Super]

1986

67

4T 37C 25P 3D [178 pts] 2SB

FH

Lasha KHMALADZE

Lelo Saracens Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]

1988

44

6T 4C [38 pts]

FH

Revaz JINTCHVELASHVILI

Aia Kutaisi [GEO Big 10]

1995

2

:

HB

Giorgi BEGADZE

Qochebi Bolnisi [GEO Big 10]

1986

45

2SB

HB

Vazha KHUTSISHVILI

Lokomotivi Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]

1993

20

:

 

Forwards

 

LH

Zurab ZHVANIA

Stade Français [FRA Top 14]

1991

23

8T 2SB

LH

Kakha ASIESHVILI

Brive [FRA Top 14]

1987

21

2T

HK

Shalva MAMUKASHVILI

Glasgow [SCO Pro 12]

1990

40

3T

HK

Jaba BREGVADZE

Worcester [ENG Prem]

1987

34

T 2SB

TH

Anton PEIKRISHVILI

Bayonne [FRA Pro D2]

1987

21

5T 2SB

TH

Irakli MIRTSKHULAVA

Tarbes [FRA Pro D2]

1988

8

:

TH

Nika KHATIASHVILI

Aurillac [FRA Pro D2]

1992

2

SB

LK

Giorgi CHKHAIDZE

Lille [FRA Fed1]

1981

91

10T [1 Capt] 6SB

LK

Giorgi NEMSADZE

Tarbes [FRA Pro D2]

1984

59

12T 4SB

LK

Nodar TCHEISHVILI

Lelo Saracens Tbilisi [GEO Big 10]

1990

1

:

BR

Shalva SUTIASHVILI

Soyaux Angoulême [FRA Fed1]

1984

57

2T [12 Capt] 3SB

BR

Giorgi TKHILAISHVILI

Batumi [GEO Big 10]

1991

27

5T SB

BR

Lasha LOMIDZE

Beziers [FRA Pro D2]

1992

20

5SB

BR

Beka BITSADZE

Chambery [FRA Fed1]

1991

15

3T

BR

Saba SHUBITIDZE

Akademia [GEO Big 10]

1994

5

:

BR

Giorgi MTCHEDLISHVILI

Jiki Gori [GEO Big 10]

1993

0

:

 

10.30 @ 27/05_2016

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