Georgia national rugby union team

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Georgia
Georgie.svg
Union Georgian Rugby Union
Nickname(s) The Lelos ბორჯღალოსნები
Emblem(s) Crepuscular rays
Ground(s) Dinamo Arena
Mikheil Meskhi Stadium
Coach(es) Milton Haig
Captain(s) Irakli Machkhaneli
Most caps Irakli Abuseridze (85)
Top scorer Merab Kvirikashvili (478)
Most tries Irakli Machkhaneli (22)
Mamuka Gorgodze (22)
Team kit
Change kit
First international
 Zimbabwe 3 – 16 Georgia Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
(12 September 1989)
Largest win
 Georgia 98 – 3 Czech Republic 
(8 April 2007)
Largest defeat
 England 84 – 6 Flag of Georgia (1990-2004).svg Georgia
(12 October 2003)
World Cup
Appearances 3 (First in 2003)
Best result One Win, 2007, 2011

The Georgia national rugby union team nicknamed The Lelos or Men of Borjgali represents Georgia in international rugby union. Rugby union in Georgia is administered by the Georgian Rugby Union. The team takes part in the annual European Nations Championship and participates in the Rugby World Cup, which takes place every four years.

Georgia is currently considered a second tier rugby union nation and is one of the world's fastest growing rugby nations.[citation needed] The Lelos participate in the European Nations Cup, winning the tournament in 2001, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. The bulk of the national squad are based in France, in both the Top 14 and lower divisions. This is a practice that was popularized by former national team coach, Claude Saurel, a Frenchman, who later coached neighbouring rivals Russia.

Rugby union is one of the most popular sports in Georgia.[citation needed] The full national team qualified for the 2003 Rugby World Cup - playing against rugby powers such as Ireland and France. The Lelos also qualified for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, where they beat Namibia 30-0 for their first ever World Cup win. As of 23 March 2015, Georgia are ranked 14th in the world by the IRB. Since 2013, Georgia has played host to the IRB Tbilisi Cup.[1][2]

The Georgian national sevens team became the first national side from Georgia to compete in a major tournament, playing in the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Cup in Argentina.[when?] Georgia also has a Georgia A national rugby union team.

History[edit]

Soviet era[edit]

There were unsuccessful attempts to introduce rugby union into Georgia in 1928 and also in 1940 and in 1948.

Rugby's popularity in Georgia might be explained by its resemblance to the traditional Georgian game named "Lelo" or "Lelo Burti" (meaning "Field Ball"). This game was played in Georgia from ancient times and is still played on occasions in rural areas. A field ("Lelo") was selected between two river creeks which represented a playing ground. Two teams, usually consisting of the male population of neighboring villages, would face each other. The number of players from each side was not set, but included any able men each village could summon. A large, heavy ball was placed in the middle of the field and the goal of the game was to carry it over the river creek of the opposing side.

The Georgia Rugby Union was founded in 1964, but until the late 1980s it was part of the Soviet Union's rugby federation. The rugby union connection between France and Georgia started as links were established by the then powerful French Communist Party and many other left-wing organisations. Georgia initially did not have its own team and its best players would play for the USSR team.

In 1988 Georgia produced their first national sevens side. In September 1989, Georgia got together with other FIRA countries to host a tour by Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's first match on the tour was in the wet against Georgia in Kutaisi, west of Tbilisi, which Georgia won 16–3. The next year Georgia went to Zimbabwe where they played two tests, losing the first in Bulawayo and winning the second 26–10 in Harare.

1990s[edit]

On 9 April 1991 Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union. Georgia was now a rugby union nation but getting matches was not easy: the old Soviet team continued under the name Commonwealth of Independent States. Georgia were limited to the odd game against Ukraine until they gained membership of the IRB in 1992.

French coach, Claude Saurel, first arrived in Georgia in 1997 with a brief to assess the standard of sport; he and his development team have helped boost the profile of the sport to the extent that it is now considered the country's most popular team sport, even ahead of football. Saurel went on to work with the Rugby Sevens team, until he was appointed as the national coach in the summer of 1999.

Georgia's 1998 loss to Romania saw them play a two legged repechage play-off against Tonga to qualify for the 1999 World Cup. On that occasion Georgia lost the first leg 37–6 in Nukuʻalofa before a 28–27 win in Tbilisi. This was not enough and Georgia failed to qualify.

2000s[edit]

Georgia team

After France and Italy dropped from the reborn European Nations Cup, Georgia became a major force in the tournament. In the 2000, Georgia finished second in the competition, finishing behind Romania. The following year, Georgia improved upon this, winning all five of their matches during the 2000/1 tournament, and thus finishing at the top of the table. They clinched the title by beating Romania away 31–20 on the final day. Rugby union took off in the country, the travel and opportunities to land lucrative contracts in France made rugby union a glamorous pursuit in Georgia. Georgia placed second in the 2001-2002 tournament. When Georgia played Russia in the European Nations Cup 65,000 people crammed into the national stadium in Tbilisi.

Georgian first made an impact at Rugby Sevens by finishing a respectable 10th in the 2001 edition of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Argentina.

World Cup[edit]

In 2003 Georgia would face Russia, the two nations would contest another match at the same venue in October 2002, in what was at the time one of the most important clashes ever between the two national sides. The victorious nation would head to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and the loser would be relegated to fight it out for a repechage position. Neither nation had ever been to a World Cup, though Georgia had come close in 1999. 45,000 turned out to the national stadium, with another one and a half million Georgians watching it on national television.[citation needed] Both nations kicked penalty goals in the first half, but Russia moved ahead with a 13–9 lead through a try, but Georgia were able to score a try of their own just before half time, with Levan Tsabadze putting them in front 14–13 at the break. Georgia held on, winning 17–13, a victory which sparked celebrations throughout the capital.[3] Three of the 75 French-based Georgian players were denied permission to play in the tournament and were suspended. Another five were sacked and arrived in Australia as free agents. In a warm-up game held in Asti the Georgians held the Italians to 31–22.

In the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Georgia were grouped into pool C alongside giants - South Africa and England. They suffered their heaviest ever defeat when beaten by England 84–6 in their opening game. In their second match, Samoa comfortably eased to a 9–46 victory. Although they performed well against the Springboks (losing 46–19) they were disappointingly defeated by Uruguay 24–12, in a match that they were expected to win. They lost all four of their matches but had impressed against South Africa. Despite the sad financial state of their union, qualification has seen the sport's profile rise throughout Georgia.

Lineout for Georgia during their loss to Ireland in the 2007 World Cup.

In 2007 Georgia recorded their first win in the rugby world cup with a 30-0 win over Namibia in their Pool D match at Stade Felix-Bollaert. The foundation for the three-tries-to-none victory was laid by Georgia's experienced forward pack who wore down their opponents at the breakdown. Dominating territory and possession in the first half it took 37 minutes for Georgia to break Namibia's defensive line, hooker Akvsenti Giorgadze, pushing his way over. Two penalties and a conversion from fly half Merab Kvirikashvili contributed to Georgia's 13-0 lead at the break, becoming Georgia's record point-scorer in rugby world cups. It was another Kvirikashvili penalty in the 68th minute that got the scoreboard ticking over again. Wing Irakli Machkhaneli then scored in the 70th minute after knocking the ball loose in a tackle. Centre Davit Kacharava put the finishing touches on the win intercepting a pass to score on the final whistle. Namibia's RWC 2007 campaign was over with the Georgia 7-64 defeat to hosts France on 30 September.

Georgia began their 2011 Rugby World Cup preparations with a two-match tour in France, the playing base of most of its World Cup player pool, against sides in the country's second-tier league, Pro D2. They won 28-24 against Stade Aurillac on 13 August, followed by a 28-15 win over CS Bourgoin-Jallieu on 19 August.

The pool included England, Argentina and Scotland, as well as local rivals Romania. Despite the close nature of their pool, Georgia were impressive in all matches, including a tight match against Scotland which was lost 15-6, thus missing a bonus point narrowly, and a 41-10 loss against England, which featured a man-of-the-match performance by flanker Mamuka Gorgodze. Georgia went on to record only their second ever Rugby World Cup win against Romania, winning 25-9 with another man-of-the-match performance by Mamuka Gorgodze. Georgia finished their campaign with a strong showing against Argentina, leading 7-5 at half time before conceding 20 unanswered points to lose 25-7. Thus Georgia finished their campaign with 1 win and 3 losses.

Aftermath of the World Cup[edit]

In 2008, Georgia augmented its claim to be the seventh best national rugby team in Europe, when it won, for the second time, the European Nations Cup, with nine wins and a single loss over a two-year campaign. Since there is no system of promotion and relegation between the Six Nations Tournament and the ENC, Georgia remained in the ENC for the 2008–10 campaign.

Lelo[edit]

The team's nickname, The Lelos, comes from lelo burti, a traditional Georgian sport with strong similarities to rugby. Lelo has been adopted as the Georgian word for "try" (the highest-valued score in rugby). One standard cheer of Georgian rugby union fans is Lelo, Lelo, Sakartvelo (Try, Try, Georgia).

Lelo has its roots in pagan times; the ball symbolized the Sun, one of the cesestial bodies worshipped throughout the Middle East. The game used to be a proven form of military exercise, it was adopted by the Orthodox Church to such an extent that the Priest used to bless a red - the most revered Christian colour - ball at Easter and throw it up to the players. Village vied with village, Uppies with Downies, married men with betrotheds and bachelors, and sometimes teams were selected on tribal lines. The goal of the Lelo-burti was to bring the ball to a pre-marked place, that is Lelo. Hence, both an 'in-goal area' and a 'try' in contemporary Georgian are referred to as 'Lelo'


Record[edit]

Overall[edit]

Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by an Georgia national XV at test level up until 24 March 2015.[4]

Top 25 Rankings as 25 May 2015[5]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  New Zealand 93.70
2 Steady  South Africa 88.23
3 Steady  Ireland 85.76
4 Steady  England 85.40
5 Steady  Wales 84.07
6 Steady  Australia 82.95
7 Steady  France 79.74
8 Steady  Argentina 78.23
9 Steady  Samoa 75.39
10 Steady  Scotland 74.79
11 Increase1  Fiji 74.57
12 Increase1  Tonga 74.12
13 Decrease2  Japan 73.70
14 Steady  Georgia 72.16
15 Steady  Italy 71.85
16 Steady  United States 67.61
17 Steady  Canada 66.83
18 Steady  Romania 66.23
19 Steady  Russia 64.65
20 Steady  Spain 62.59
21 Steady  Uruguay 62.11
22 Steady  Namibia 58.27
23 Steady  Portugal 57.40
24 Steady  Chile 56.70
25 Increase2  Hong Kong 57.31
*Change from the previous week
Georgia's Historical Rankings
Georgia IRB World Rankings.png
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 27 April 2015[5]
Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win % For Aga Diff
 Argentina 3 0 3 0 0% 28 87 −59
Argentina Argentina Jaguars [N 1] 3 2 1 0 66.67% 54 61 −7
 Barbarians [N 1] 1 0 1 0 0% 19 28 −9
 Belgium 2 2 0 0 100% 52 13 +39
 Bulgaria 1 1 0 0 100% 70 8 +62
 Canada 4 2 2 0 50% 63 103 −40
 Chile 2 1 1 0 50% 53 36 +17
 Croatia 1 1 0 0 100% 29 15 +14
 Czech Republic 8 8 0 0 100% 310 58 +252
 Denmark 1 1 0 0 100% 19 8 +11
Ireland Emerging Ireland [N 1] 1 0 1 0 0% 15 20 −5
 Emerging Italy [N 1] 1 1 0 0 100% 34 10 +24
South Africa Emerging Springboks [N 1] 2 0 2 0 0% 10 35 −25
 England 2 0 2 0 0% 16 125 −109
 Fiji 1 0 1 0 0% 19 24 −5
 France 1 0 1 0 0% 7 64 −57
France French Universities [N 1] 1 1 0 0 100% 24 20 +4
 Germany 4 4 0 0 100% 193 19 +174
 Ireland 4 0 4 0 0% 31 196 −165
Ireland Ireland Wolfhounds [N 1] 1 0 1 0 0% 5 40 −35
 Italy [N 1] 2 0 2 0 0% 29 82 −53
 Italy A [N 1] 5 2 3 0 40% 71 83 −12
 Japan 3 1 2 0 33.33% 64 81 −17
 Kazakhstan 1 1 0 0 100% 17 5 +12
 Latvia 1 1 0 0 100% 28 3 +25
 Luxembourg 1 0 0 1 0% 10 10 +0
 Moldova 1 1 0 0 100% 47 5 +42
 Morocco 1 1 0 0 100% 20 10 +10
 Namibia 4 3 1 0 75% 95 57 +38
 Netherlands 4 3 1 0 75% 164 64 +100
 Poland 2 0 2 0 0% 29 52 −23
 Portugal 19 13 4 2 68.42% 440 265 +175
 Romania 19 10 8 1 52.63% 347 339 +8
 Russia 19 17 1 1 89.47% 476 224 +252
 Samoa 2 1 1 0 50% 25 61 −36
 Scotland 1 0 1 0 0% 6 15 −9
 Scotland A [N 1] 2 1 1 0 50% 25 90 −65
 South Africa 1 0 1 0 0% 19 46 −27
South Africa South Africa A [N 1] 1 0 1 0 0% 17 31 −14
South Africa South Africa Kings [N 1] 1 0 1 0 0% 17 31 −14
South Africa South Africa President's XV [N 1] 1 0 1 0 0% 16 21 −5
 Spain 16 12 3 1 75% 509 253 +246
  Switzerland 1 1 0 0 100% 22 21 +1
 Tonga 3 1 2 0 33.33% 43 87 −44
 Ukraine 9 9 0 0 100% 281 63 +218
 United States 4 1 3 0 25% 75 109 −34
 Uruguay 4 2 2 0 50% 66 62 +4
 Zimbabwe 3 2 1 0 66.67% 58 35 +23
Total 175 107 62 6 61.14% 4067 3175 +892
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Georgia has awarded international caps for several games against national XV selections, A and B teams, club sides and invitational teams.

Competitions[edit]

Rugby World Cup[edit]

Georgia has competed in three Rugby World Cup tournaments. Their first appearance was in 2003 when they were placed in Pool C with England, South Africa, Uruguay and Samoa. In 2007 Georgia recorded their first win in the Rugby World Cup with a 30-0 win over Namibia in their Pool D match at Stade Felix-Bollaert. Georgia have won two World Cup matches and lost ten.

World Cup record World Cup Qualification record
Year Round P W D L F A P W D L F A
AustraliaNew Zealand 1987 Not invited -
United KingdomIrelandFrance 1991 Did not enter Did not enter
South Africa 1995 Did not qualify 2 0 0 2 15 38
Wales 1999 8 4 0 4 131 221
Australia 2003 Pool Stage 4 0 0 4 46 200 2 1 0 1 31 76
France 2007 Pool Stage 4 1 0 3 50 111 14 10 1 3 426 182
New Zealand 2011 Pool Stage 4 1 0 3 48 90 10 8 1 1 326 132
England 2015 Qualified 10 9 1 0 286 106
Total 4/8 12 2 0 10 144 401 46 32 3 11 1215 755

European Nations Cup[edit]

Georgia compete annually in the European Nations Cup. They won the tournament seven times in 2001, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012,2013,2014 and 2015

Nation Champs Games Won Draw Lost Win/Lose Percentage
 Georgia 7 70 54 4 12 81.82%
 Romania 4 70 51 2 17 75%
 Portugal 1 70 33 3 34 49.25%
 Russia 0 64 36 3 25 59.02%
 Spain 0 60 16 3 41 28.07%

Results against Russia[edit]

The Georgian national rugby team has a successful series of results against the Russian rugby team. Georgia and Russia have played 18 games, out of which Russia managed to win only once, with one match ending in a draw.

Tensions between Russia and Georgia remained high after a brief war in August 2008, resulting in the scheduling of head-to-head rugby matches on neutral soil during 2009 and 2010.

Tournament Location Date Home Team Score Away Team
European Nations Cup 2015
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
14.03.2015
Georgia (country) Georgia
33-0
 Russia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2015
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
22.02.2014
Georgia (country) Georgia
36-10
 Russia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2015
Russia Sochi
23.02.2013
 Russia
9-23
Georgia (country) Georgia
European Nations Cup 2012
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
17.03.2012
Georgia (country) Georgia
46-0
 Russia
European Nations Cup 2011
Russia Sochi
19.03.2011
 Russia
9–15
Georgia (country) Georgia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2011
Turkey Trabzon
20.03.2010
Georgia (country) Georgia
36–8
 Russia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2011
Ukraine Mariupol
22.03.2009
 Russia
21–29
Georgia (country) Georgia
European Nations Cup 2008
Russia Krasnoyarsk
12.04.2008
 Russia
12-18
 Georgia
European Nations Cup 2007
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
24.03.2007
 Georgia
31-12
 Russia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2007
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
4.02.2006
 Georgia
46-19
 Russia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2007
Russia Krasnodar
20.11.2004
 Russia
15-27
 Georgia
European Nations Cup 2004
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
6.03.2004
 Georgia
9-3
 Russia
European Nations Cup 2003
Russia Krasnodar
9.03.2003
 Russia
17-23
 Georgia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2003
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
13.10.2002
 Georgia
17-13
 Russia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2003
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
3.03.2002
 Georgia
12-12
 Russia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 2003
Russia Krasnodar
4.03.2001
 Russia
23-25
 Georgia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 1999
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
20.05.1998
 Georgia
12-6
 Russia
1996-1967 FIRA Tournament
Georgia (country) Tbilisi
20.10.1996
 Georgia
29-20
 Russia
Rugby World Cup Qualifying 1995
Poland Sopot
25.05.1993
 Russia
15-9
 Georgia
Georgian rugby players celebrate beating Russia

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

Georgia 27-man squad for the 2014–16 European Nations Cup First Division.[6]

Head CoachNew Zealand Milton Haig

  • Caps updated: 6 February 2015 2014


Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by World Rugby.

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
Shalva Mamukashvili Hooker (1990-10-02) 2 October 1990 (age 24) 27 England Sale Sharks
Zurab Zhvania Hooker (1991-09-23) 23 September 1991 (age 23) 13 France Stade Français
Levan Chilachava Prop (1991-08-17) 17 August 1991 (age 23) 18 France Toulon
Vasil Kakovin Prop (1989-12-01) 1 December 1989 (age 25) 24 France Toulouse
Mikheil Nariashvili Prop (1990-05-25) 25 May 1990 (age 25) 21 France Montpellier
Davit Kubriashvili Prop (1986-03-12) 12 March 1986 (age 29) 38 France Stade Français
Davit Zirakashvili Prop (1983-09-20) 20 September 1983 (age 31) 44 France Clermont-Ferrand
Giorgi Chkhaidze Lock (1982-06-24) 24 June 1982 (age 32) 77 France Lille MR
Vakhtang Maisuradze Lock (1987-03-11) 11 March 1987 (age 28) 22 France Albi
Konstantin Mikautadze Lock (1991-01-07) 7 January 1991 (age 24) 26 France Toulon
Giorgi Nemsadze Lock (1984-09-26) 26 September 1984 (age 30) 43 France Tarbes
Mamuka Gorgodze Flanker (1984-07-14) 14 July 1984 (age 30) 57 France Toulon
Shalva Sutiashvili Flanker (1984-01-24) 24 January 1984 (age 31) 43 France Massy
Giorgi Tkhilaishvili Flanker (1991-04-08) 8 April 1991 (age 24) 16 Georgia (country) Batumi
Beka Bitsadze Number 8 (1991-03-24) 24 March 1991 (age 24) 10 Georgia (country) Locomotive
Lasha Lomidze Number 8 (1992-06-30) 30 June 1992 (age 22) 6 France Béziers
Giorgi Begadze Scrum-half (1986-03-04) 4 March 1986 (age 29) 28 Georgia (country) Kochebi
Vasil Lobzhanidze Scrum-half 0 Georgia (country) Armazi
Lasha Khmaladze Fly-half (1988-01-20) 20 January 1988 (age 27) 34 Georgia (country) Lelo Saracens
Lasha Malaghuradze Fly-half (1986-01-02) 2 January 1986 (age 29) 51 France Stade Bagnérais
Davit Kacharava (c) Centre (1985-01-16) 16 January 1985 (age 30) 76 Russia Yenisey-STM
Tamaz Mchedlidze Centre (1993-03-17) 17 March 1993 (age 22) 21 France Agen
Merab Sharikadze Centre (1993-05-17) 17 May 1993 (age 22) 28 France Aurillac
Alex Khutsishvili Wing 0 Georgia (country) Kochebi
Alexander Todua Wing (1987-11-02) 2 November 1987 (age 27) 44 Georgia (country) Lelo Saracens
Giorgi Aptsiauri Fullback (1994-01-20) 20 January 1994 (age 21) 1 Georgia (country) AIA
Merab Kvirikashvili Fullback (1983-12-27) 27 December 1983 (age 31) 80 France Montluçon

Notable players[edit]

Ilia Zedginidze

Ilia Zedginidze - He played as a Number 8 and was a lineout specialist. A member of their inaugural World Cup side in 2003, he captained Georgia in the 2007 tournament, but was forced out of the squad because of an injury. This injury ultimately led to him announcing his retirement from international rugby, after gaining 48 caps.[7] He returned to the squad in late 2008, playing against Scotland A and taking part in the 2009 European Nations Cup, where he scored a game-saving try against Portugal on 14 February 2009.

Malkhaz Urjukashvili - Moved to France, where he has been playing in Stade Toulousain, RC Nîmes, US Tours, in 2003, RC Cannes-Mandelieu, from 2003/04 to 2006/07, in the Fédérale 2, Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne, from 2007/08 to 2008/09, in the Rugby Pro D2 and Groupe Sportife Figeacois, since 2009/10, in the Fédérale 2.

He is one of the best players and scorers for Georgia, holding currently 65 caps for his National Team, with 18 tries, 42 conversions, 41 penalties and 1 drop goal, in an aggregate of 300 points. His first match was a 29-15 win over Croatia, in Tbilisi, at 12 October 1997, aged only 17 years old. This made him one of the youngest players ever to be capped at international rugby level.

He was present at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, playing three matches and scoring 2 penalties and 1 drop goal, 9 points in aggregate. In the game against England at Perth, he kicked a long range penalty that registered as Georgia's first Rugby World Cup points (England eventually won the game 84-6).

He was called once again for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, playing in all the four matches and scoring one conversion. He continued to be a valuable player in the 2011 Rugby World Cup qualification, the third Georgia gained in a row.

Mamuka Gorgodze

Mamuka Gorgodze - Switched to rugby from basketball aged 17. His first club was Lelo in the Georgian Top League, he was soon selected for the Georgia national team and made his debut in 2003 against Spain, at the age of just 18 and not long after he started playing rugby. However he wasn't selected for Georgia's first appearance at the 2003 Rugby World Cup later that year.

In 2004 he became a regular fixture for the Georgia side and then signed for Montpellier in 2005. Gorgodze started his career at Montpellier mainly as a reserve in the side and didn't get much game time. He was still a regular in the Georgia side though and was selected for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Gorgodze started three of Georgia's four matches at the World Cup, and was one of Georgia's star players.

After the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Gorgodze started playing for Montpellier a lot more regularly and was their first choice lock. Gorgodze was signed by Brive for the 2009/10 season but Gorgodze changed his mind and decided to stay at Montpellier, who were forced to pay Brive 200,000 euros to keep him.[8]

A known weak spot for Gorgodze is his indiscipline, he has received 16 yellow cards for Montpellier since 2007. During 2010 he was banned twice for fighting, once with Sébastien Pagès against Albi[9] and the other time with Alex Tulou against Bourgoin.[10]

Gorgodze changed position for Georgia to the back row, and when Fabien Galthié and Eric Béchu became the new Montpellier coaches before the 2010/11 season they also converted him to the back row. Gorgodze became a revelation at flanker during this season, and halfway through the season French newspaper L'Équipe commented that he improved his technique and became a mobile and unstoppable player.[11] Gorgodze played a big role in Montpellier finishing the 2010/11 Top 14 as runners up, and had a particularly massive match in the Top 14 semi final against Racing-Métro.[12] At the end of the season L'Équipe named him as the best foreigner in the league.

Gorgodze was selected for the Georgia squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and played all the Georgia matches and was named man of the match in two matches, against England and Romania.

Individual all-time records[edit]

Most caps[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Won Lost Draw %
1. Irakli Abuseridze Scrum-half 2000–2013 85 76 9 40 8 0 0 0 52 30 3 62.94
2. Merab Kvirikashvili Fly-half 2003- 80 63 17 580 12 104 101 3 47 31 2 60.00
Tedo Zibzibadze Centre 2000- 77 65 12 115 23 0 0 0 48 25 4 64.93
3. Giorgi Chkhaidze Flanker 2002- 77 65 12 35 7 0 0 0 50 25 2 66.23
6. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Wing 1997-2011 69 65 4 313 17 45 45 1 40 29 0 57.97
4. Davit Kacharava Centre 2006- 76 61 15 70 14 0 0 0 49 25 2 64.70
7. Gia Labadze Flanker 1996-2012 67 64 3 60 12 0 0 0 39 25 3 65.78
5. Irakli Machkhaneli Wing 2002- 73 68 5 115 23 0 0 0 41 29 3 58.21
9. Ilia Zedginidze Lock 1998-2011 64 62 2 65 13 0 0 0 37 23 4 60.93
10. 2 players on 62 matches

Last updated: Georgia vs Samoa, 23 November 2013. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [13]

Most tries[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1. Mamuka Gorgodze Lock 2003- 54 49 5 110 22 0 0 0
Irakli Machkhaneli Wing 2002– 67 62 5 110 22 0 0 0
3. Tedo Zibzibadze Centre 2000- 72 62 10 105 21 0 0 0
4. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Wing 1997-2011 69 65 4 313 17 45 45 1
5. Bessik Khamashuridze Fullback 1998-2011 59 50 9 70 14 0 0 0
6. Davit Kacharava Centre 2006- 68 53 15 65 13 0 0 0
Ilia Zedginidze Lock 1998-2011 64 62 2 65 13 0 0 0
8. Akvsenti Giorgadze Hooker 1996-2011 62 53 9 60 12 0 0 0
Gia Labadze Flanker 1996-2012 67 64 3 60 12 0 0 0
10. 2 players on 10 tries

Last updated: Georgia vs Samoa, 23 November 2013. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [14]

Most points[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1. Merab Kvirikashvili Fly-half 2003– 72 55 17 478 8 93 82 2
2. Pavle Jimsheladze Fly-half 1995-2007 57 55 2 320 9 61 48 3
3. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Wing 1997-2011 69 65 4 313 17 45 45 1
4. Mamuka Gorgodze Lock 2003- 54 49 5 110 22 0 0 0
Irakli Machkhaneli Wing 2002- 67 62 5 110 22 0 0 0
6. Tedo Zibzibadze Centre 2000- 72 62 10 105 21 0 0 0
7. Nugzar Dzagnidze Fly-half 1989-1995 12 12 0 104 3 9 22 3
8. Lasha Malaghuradze Fly-half 2008- 41 28 13 103 3 17 15 3
9. Bessik Khamashuridze Fullback 1998-2011 59 50 9 70 14 0 0 0
10. 2 players on 65 points

Last updated: Georgia vs Samoa, 23 November 2013. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [15]

Most points in a match[edit]

# Player Pos Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Opposition Venue Date
1. Merab Kvirikashvili Full Back 32 2 11 0 0  Germany Georgia (country) Tbilisi 06/02/2010
2. Paliko Jimsheladze Fly-half 23 1 0 6 0  Russia Russia Krasnodar 09/03/2003
Merab Kvirikashvili Fly-half 23 1 9 0 0  Czech Republic Georgia (country) Tbilisi 07/04/2007
4. Merab Kvirikashvili Fly-half 22 1 1 5 0  Japan Georgia (country) Tbilisi 17/11/2012
5. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Fly-half 20 0 7 2 0  Czech Republic Georgia (country) Kutaisi 12/06/2005
Lasha Malaghuradze Fly-half 20 1 6 1 0  Spain Spain Madrid 28/02/2009
7. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Full Back 19 1 4 2 0  Spain Georgia (country) Tbilisi 28/10/2006
8. Paliko Jimsheladze Fly-half 18 0 9 0 0  Netherlands Georgia (country) Tbilisi 03/02/2002
Malkhaz Urjukashvili Wing 18 1 2 3 0  Romania Georgia (country) Tbilisi 06/04/2002
Merab Kvirikashvili Full Back 18 1 2 3 0  United States Georgia (country) Rustavi 16/11/2013

Last updated: Georgia vs Samoa, 23 November 2013. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [16]

Most tries in a match[edit]

# Player Pos Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Opposition Venue Date
1. Paliko Jimsheladze Wing 15 3 0 0 0  Bulgaria Bulgaria Sofia 23/03/1995
Archil Kavtarahvili Wing 15 3 0 0 0  Bulgaria Bulgaria Sofia 23/03/1995
Mamuka Gorgodze Lock 15 3 0 0 0  Czech Republic Georgia (country) Kutaisi 12/06/2005
David Dadunashvili Hooker 15 3 0 0 0  Czech Republic Georgia (country) Tbilisi 07/04/2007
Malkhaz Urjukashvili Centre 15 3 0 0 0  Czech Republic Georgia (country) Tbilisi 07/04/2007
Mamuka Gorgodze Lock 15 3 0 0 0  Spain Georgia (country) Tbilisi 26/04/2008
7. 41 players on 2 tries

Last updated: Georgia vs Samoa, 23 November 2013. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [17]

Most matches as captain[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Won Lost Draw % Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1. Ilia Zedginidze Lock 2002–2011 32 18 12 2 59.37 30 6 0 0 0
2. Irakli Abuseridze Scrum-half 2007-2012 31 21 9 1 69.35 15 3 0 0 0
3. Zurab Mtchedlishvili Lock 1997-2007 12 7 5 0 58.33 10 2 0 0 0
Levan Tsabadze Prop 2001-2002 12 9 2 11 79.16 15 3 0 0 0
5. Dimitri Oboladze Flanker 1993-1998 11 6 4 1 59.09 5 1 0 0 0
6. Nugzar Dzagnidze Fullback 1991-1994 7 5 2 0 71.42 61 2 6 11 3
Irakli Machkhaneli Wing 2013- 7 4 2 1 64.28 0 0 0 0 0
8 Gia Labadze Flanker 2000-2010 6 1 5 0 16.66 0 0 0 0 0
9. Oleg Liparteliani Wing 1989-1990 3 2 1 0 66.66 0 0 0 0 0
10. 7 players on 2 matches

Last updated: Georgia vs Samoa, 23 November 2013. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [18]

Youngest players[edit]

# Player Pos Age Opposition Venue Date
1. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Wing 17 years and 18 days  Croatia Georgia (country) Tbilisi 12/10/1997
2. Irakli Chkhikvadze (Wing) 18 years and 38 days  Chile Georgia (country) Tbilisi 12/11/2005
3. Mamuka Gorgodze (Number 8) 18 years and 223 days  Spain Georgia (country) Tbilisi 22/02/2003
Otar Barkalaia Fly-half 18 years and 223 days  Ireland Republic of Ireland Lansdowne Road 28/09/2002
5. Vito Kolelishvili (Number 8) 18 years and 255 days  Italy A Romania Bucharest 20/06/2008
6. Giorgi Elizbarashvili (Wing) 18 years and 265 days  Russia Georgia (country) Tbilisi 13/10/2002
7. Merab Sharikadze Centre 18 years and 270 days  Spain Spain Madrid 11/02/2012
8. Irakli Giorgadze (Centre) 18 years and 328 days France French Universities Georgia (country) Tbilisi 10/11/2001
9. Vasil Kakovin (Prop) 18 years and 349 days  Scotland A Scotland Glasgow 14/11/2008
10. Giorgi Jgenti (Prop) 18 years and 352 days  Uruguay Uruguay Montevideo 30/10/2004

Last updated: Georgia vs Samoa, 23 November 2013. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [19]

Oldest players[edit]

# Player Pos Age Opposition Venue Date
1. Gia Labadze Flanker 38 years and 276 days  Canada Canada Vancouver 23/06/2012
2. Zurab Mtchedlishvili Lock 35 years and 343 days  France France Marseille 30/09/2007
3. Victor Didebulidze Lock 35 years and 330 days  France France Marseille 30/09/2007
4. Akvsenti Giorgadze Hooker 35 years and 120 days  Argentina New Zealand Palmerston North 02/10/2011
5. Irakli Abuseridze Scrum-half 35 years and 104 days  Spain Georgia (country) Tbilisi 09/03/2013
6. Ilia Zedginidze (Lock) 34 years and 255 days  Argentina New Zealand Palmerston North 02/10/2011
7. Rati Urushadze Flanker 34 years and 59 days  Italy A Italy Palmanova 20/11/2009
8. Bessik Khamashuridze (Wing) 33 years and 309 days  Namibia Romania Bucharest 19/06/2011
9. Mevlud Mtiulishvili (Prop) 33 years and 301 days  Romania Romania Iasi 27/03/2004
10. Goderdzi Shvelidze (Prop) 33 years and 168 days  Argentina New Zealand Palmerston North 02/10/2011

Last updated: Georgia vs Samoa, 23 November 2013. Statistics include officially capped matches only. [21]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Georgia to host IRB Tbilisi Cup in June". International Rugby Board. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Georgia to host Tbilisi Cup 2014". International Rugby Board. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "When Georgia’s XV came of age". rwc2003.irb.com. Retrieved 29 November 2006. 
  4. ^ Georgia statistics
  5. ^ a b "World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Georgian Squad Announced for ENC 2015
  7. ^ "Zedginidze calls time". rugbyworldcup.com. 19 September 2007. 
  8. ^ "Gorgodze à Brive ?". 18 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "Two French suspensions". 22 January 2010. 
  10. ^ "Gorgodze et Tulou s'échangent quelques amabilités". 9 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "Rétrospective 2010". 28 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Gorgodze percute, tamponne, caramélise, retourne. En plus, il franchit". 3 June 2011. 
  13. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/most_matches.html?id=81;type=team
  14. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/most_tries.html?id=81;type=team
  15. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/most_points.html?id=81;type=team
  16. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/most_points_match.html?id=81;type=team
  17. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/most_tries_match.html?id=81;type=team
  18. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/most_matches_captain.html?id=81;type=team
  19. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/youngest_appearance.html?id=81;type=team
  20. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/youngest_appearance.html?id=1;type=class
  21. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/oldest_appearance.html?id=81;type=team
  22. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/oldest_appearance.html?id=1;type=class

External links[edit]