Trophy tour kicks off in Georgia


World Rugby U20 Championship kicks off in less than one-month time in Georgia that is the largest rugby event ever hosted by country. Future Stars of World Rugby from 12 strongest U20 teams, including the Junior Lelos will compete for the title from May 31st to June 18th in Tbilisi and Kutaisi over 5 match days.


Tickets are on sale online at TKT.GE/U20

Lelo Burti hosts the Trophy


World Rugby U20 Championship trophy is already in Georgia touring the country, which started its voyage on April 16 from village of Shukhuti in Western Georgian region of Guria. It is symbolic that tour started from Shukhuti as annually, on every Easter Sunday this village hosts Lelo Burti, a traditional Georgian Rugby look alike game that takes its roots from pagan times. It is the Lelo Burti the Georgian National Rugby Team owns its nickname to - The Lelos. Also one can clearly hear Georgian Rugby fans chanting “Lelo, Lelo” during national teams matches as the word also means “try” in Georgian language.

The game is played with a leather ball that is staffed with grass sand and saw dust. They also pour red wine in it to make it even heavier and sometimes it gets up to 16 kilograms. During the game village is divided in two teams and the main goal of each side is to score a Lelo in opposition team’s river creek. Georgians never hesitate to consider Lelo Burti as possibly the predecessor of Rugby. Sometimes the game is also called as Georgian traditional Rugby without rules – as there are no rules, no age or gender restriction and the number of players is not limited as well as the whole village’s territory serves as a pitch for the game.

“It is great privilege that we are given opportunity of hosting World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia. We are very pleased to have the Championship Trophy with us to start its journey around the country. Also it is symbolic that our traditional, Georgian National game of Lelo Burti is the first host of the trophy here in Shukhuti, from where the Cup will visit significant parts of the country and many people will be given a chance to witness the trophy and take photos with it. It is very significant as only few players had had chance to lift this trophy” – said Nodar Andguladze, former Georgian International who along with his fellow team mate from The Lelos Alexandre Gugava brought the Trophy to Shukhuti.

The game started at 5 pm. Excited with the trophy visit, the organizers little overdid with the ball as it turned out 18 kilograms instead of 16. As per tradition, local priest, father Saba went in the middle of crowed at Shukhuti village center to kick off the game after throwing the ball it in the air. Game time is not limited, but this time encounter finished in 25 minutes, which is not usual.

After the game Alexandre Gugava and Nodar Andguladze met up with local kids to show them the trophy and talk about rugby values - “Trophy tour is a great opportunity to promote rugby within the country. Today we met with local boys and girls, who are very excited to see the trophy. During the meeting we spoke about the values of Rugby and that how important it is to host Future Stars of World Rugby in Georgia” – said Alexandre Gugava, after the meeting followed by mini rugby game.


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