Monday, 2 June 2014

Can Vito Kolelishvili fulfil his potential on return to Clermont?

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Can Georgian flanker Vito Kolelishvili finally shrug off his discipline problems and fulfil his potential? After a successful season and punch up free season at Lyon, has he turned the corner?

When he is on the field, Vito Kolelishvili is one of Georgia's finest assets. A real physical specimen, possession pace, power and physicality within a musclebound 6' 4" and 105kg frame, he is a key collision winner for Georgia.

However there has been a very noticeable and frustrating downside to his play over the first part of his career, the same aggression that probably plays a key part in his aptitude in the collision area has on several occasions spilled over to Cudmore-levels of indiscipline.

Already Kolelishvili has received 2 red cards in international rugby for fighting. Georgia still won both those matches, but he was fortunate against Canada last November that his opponents also got a red card from the brawl, otherwise he may have ended up costing his side the game. He was also extremely lucky not to have a third red on his record for his part in the infamous mass brawl against Belgium, where only the quantity of players throwing punches saved him.

However there are signs Kolelishvili may have turned a corner over recent months. When he joined Lyon this season, many were concerned at the thought of the flanker entering an environment that has included several notable brawls so big that have become YouTube hits, but there has been not a word disciplinary wise from Lyon all season, the 4 week ban for the Canada incident in November is the only blemish on his disciplinary record over the past 30 appearances.
Kolelishvili is returning to Clermont
Auvergne colours next season

After struggling to get game time at European powerhouses Clermont whom he joined in 2010, Kolelishvili linked up with Tim Lane, the coach who gave him his Georgian debut aged 18 in 2008, and he has been one of their key performers as they lifted the ProD2 title to return to the Top 14. He has impressed enough at Lyon that Clermont have backed him to return to the Stade Marcel Michelin next season, where this time he has been promised more time on the pitch as a replacement for the outgoing 35 year old Gerhard Vosloo.

Kolelishvili may now have the platform and opportunity to fulfil his undeniable potential on the big stage, but equally for the rest of his career the microscope will be on his discipline. Whilst he's lucky it hasn't really cost Georgia yet, if it keeps happening it inevitably will.

The back rower will always be a fiery aggressive player and part of that is what makes him an asset to Georgia, but hopefully he can take lessons from his clubmate Jamie Cudmore, who had similar issues at the same stage of his career, but seems to have mellowed a bit over more recent seasons and managed to look past the wind up merchants who will target him.

Video: Kolelishvili's strong performance against Argentina in the World Cup

Vito Kolelishvili Punch Ups

vs Romania 2012
After the Oaks hooker Marius Tincu pulled his hair, Kolelishvili reacted angrily and knocked him out with a punch and received his first red card in international rugby. Georgia held onto their lead to win 19-13.
vs Belgium 2013
A mass brawl had already erupted early on, then Kolelishvili (far right) completely lost with a flurry of punches on the Belgian wing Thibaut André. Kolelishvili was extremely lucky not to get another red card, he only escaped as there were punches being thrown all over the pitch.
Kolelishvili Ardron vs Canada 2013
After a tackle was penalised, Tyler Ardron reacted and grabbed onto Kolelishvili's shirt and got in his face. Kolelishvili reacted throwing punches which sparked another mass brawl, and again was red carded. He was very lucky that Ardron also got a red that was harsh otherwise he could have cost the game.

1 comment :

  1. Yep, Gorgodze and Vito are from the same species, i think he will be a lot calmer in future. But calm Vito is still crazier than angry Ardron lol