Wednesday, 19 March 2014

November fixture list lined up for Georgia

imageGeorgia are set to tackle a tough fixture list this November which includes a trip to visit 6 Nations champions Ireland in their own backyard.

For the first ever time, the 6 Nations champions will face the ENC champions. The fixture between Ireland and Georgia has been known for a while now, but now the IRFU finally confirmed the date and time for the game.
Georgia will play Ireland for the
first time since the 2007 World Cup

The match will be the first time in over 11 years that Georgia will play a side from the 6 Nations outside of a World Cup and the first time ever against one of the 8 founding IRB nations outside of the World Cup system.

That Ireland are the team Georgia are facing is no doubt partly down to the last fixture between the sides 7 years ago in Bordeaux. In the World Cup the Lelos lost 14-10 and were pounding down onto the Irish line in the dying minutes but Denis Leamy held up the ball to prevent the biggest upset in World Cup history. As a result, they have a slightly higher reputation and respect there than some other nations. Another factor could be contacts formed from an Irish representative team appearing in the Tbilisi Cup last year.

Ireland currently are one of the top 5 countries in world rugby so a win is unlikely but it's an important game for Georgia nevertheless, a good enough performance on a more prominent stage with a larger audience could boost the chances of getting accepted to more such matches against top opposition.

The other 2 games are also very interesting tough games. The first according to GRU president Gia Nijaradze although unconfirmed is most likely to be Tonga, the Lelos opponents at next year's World Cup. Georgia and Tonga haven't met since 1999, the last game between the being a 28-27 Georgian win in Tbilisi. Fixtures between the Eastern Europeans and the Pacific Islanders has been as extremely rare up until 2012, and now Georgia may play all 3 in 3 years.

The final weekend's game looks set to be against Japan, a side they have played only twice before. Georgia last played against the Cherry Blossoms in November 2012, a match they will be looking to avenge as they blew a 9 point lead twice throughout the game as Japan got a match winning drop goal in the last play.

Overall Georgia should again have 3 very interesting matches this November all against sides ranked in the top 13 and they will prove good testers for Milton Haig's side ahead of the World Cup.

Georgia Probable November 2014 Fixtures:
08/11Tonga Tonga (TBC, Tbilisi)
16/11 – Ireland Ireland (Aviva Stadium, Dublin)
22/11 – Japan Japan (TBC, Tbilisi)

1 comment :

  1. Probably the best Autumn line up an ENC nation has had for a while? Credit to Ireland for inviting Georgia over. There really is no reason the ENC champions, and ideally the runners up as well, should not have a couple of fixtures against 6 nations opposition each year, like the Pacific Islands do. If it means one less Aussie trip to Cardiff or wherever so be it, it would help make those fixtures scarcer and more special again.