Georgia national rugby union team

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Georgia
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Lelos
Emblem Borjgali
Union Georgian Rugby Union
Head coach Milton Haig
Captain Mamuka Gorgodze
Most caps Merab Kvirikashvili (95)
Top scorer Merab Kvirikashvili (743)
Top try scorer Mamuka Gorgodze (26)
Home stadium Mikheil Meskhi Stadium
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current 11 (as of 27 June 2016)
Highest 11 (2016)
Lowest 23 (2009)
First international
Georgia 16–3 Zimbabwe
(Kutaisi, Georgia; 12 September 1989)
Biggest win
Georgia 98–3 Czech Republic
(Tbilisi, Georgia; 8 April 2007)
Biggest defeat
Georgia 6–84 England
(Perth, Australia; 12 October 2003)
World Cup
Appearances 4 (First in 2003)
Best result 3'd in the pool in 2015
Website www.rugby.ge

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 Cup 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. The Lelos participate in the European Nations Cup, winning the tournament in 2001, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 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 is one of the most popular sports in Georgia. The national team qualified for the Rugby World Cup four times, first in 2003 – playing against rugby powers such as England and South Africa. The Lelos recorded their first ever World Cup win in 2007 Rugby World Cup, where they beat Namibia 30–0. As of 4 July 2016, Georgia are ranked 11th in the world by World Rugby. Since 2013, Georgia has hosted the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup.

The Georgia national rugby 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 2001 in Argentina. 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 World Rugby 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. Saurel went on to work with the Georgia national rugby sevens team 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]

Georgian team celebrating victory

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 2000–01 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 2001–02 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 October 2002 Georgia faced Russia, 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 spectators turned out to the national stadium. 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.[1] 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 lost to Italians 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 46–9 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 were drawn against Argentina, Ireland, Namibia and tournament hosts France in Pool D. The team 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. The 2007 world cup campaign is also well remembered for Georgians by brilliant display against Ireland, were Georgia lost the match by 4 points 10–14. The tournament was over with 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.

In the 2015 Rugby World Cup Georgia played against Tonga, Argentina, title holders New Zealand and the top African qualifier Namibia in Pool C. The group opener finished with Georgia’s 17–10 victory against Tonga. It totally paid off for what the Lelos have worked so hard during RWC preparations. With this history-maker fixture, they won the third World Cup match in the history of Georgian Rugby. Georgia lost second match against Argentina 9–54, although in the first half finished 14–9 for the Pumas. In the third match Georgia were defeated by New Zealand 43–10 in Cardiff. Again in the first half The Lelos held very well against the mighty All Blacks, with score remaining 22–10 for the world champions. In the last match Georgia defeated Namibia 17–16, for the first time ever finished the group on third place with two wins and two defeats and secured their qualification for 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Aftermath of the World Cup[edit]

In 2016, Georgia once again cemented its claim to be the seventh best national rugby team in Europe, when they won the European Nations Cup for the sixth consecutive time, with 10 wins from 10 matches. In the 2016 mid-year internationals the Lelos traveled to pacific islands for the first time and finished the historic tour unbeaten with 19–19 draw against Samoa, 23–20 victory against Tonga and 14–3 victory against Fiji.

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'.

Honours[edit]

Notable Wins[edit]

Record[edit]

Overall[edit]

Top 30 rankings as of 11 July 2016[2]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  New Zealand 96.10
2 Steady  England 89.49
3 Steady  South Africa 86.32
4 Steady  Australia 84.43
5 Steady  Wales 82.49
6 Steady  Ireland 81.67
7 Steady  France 80.75
8 Steady  Scotland 80.44
9 Steady  Argentina 80.20
10 Steady  Fiji 75.49
11 Steady  Georgia 75.23
12 Steady  Japan 74.95
13 Steady  Italy 72.23
14 Steady  Samoa 71.37
15 Steady  Tonga 69.47
16 Steady  Romania 68.74
17 Steady  United States 65.60
18 Steady  Canada 64.53
19 Steady  Uruguay 63.56
20 Steady  Namibia 62.28
21 Steady  Russia 61.91
22 Steady  Hong Kong 59.03
23 Steady  Spain 58.79
24 Increase2  Kenya 58.58
25 Decrease1  Belgium 57.94
26 Decrease1  Germany 57.71
27 Steady  Ukraine 56.95
28 Steady  Chile 55.73
29 Steady  South Korea 54.85
30 Steady  Portugal 54.29
*Change from the previous week
Georgia's Historical Rankings
Georgia IRB World Rankings.png
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 1 November 2015[2]

Georgia has won 117 of their 192 representative matches, a winning record of 60.94%. Since World Rankings were introduced by World Rugby in September 2003, Georgia have occupied below number ten the majority of the time.

Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by a Georgia national XV at test level up until 24 June 2016.[3]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win % For Aga Diff
 Argentina 4 0 4 0 0.00% 37 141 −104
Argentina Argentina Jaguars 3 2 1 0 66.67% 54 61 −7
 Barbarians 1 0 1 0 0.00% 19 28 −9
 Belgium 2 2 0 0 100.00% 52 13 +39
 Bulgaria 1 1 0 0 100.00% 70 8 +62
 Canada 5 2 3 0 40.00% 78 119 −41
 Chile 2 1 1 0 50.00% 53 36 +17
 Croatia 1 1 0 0 100.00% 29 15 +14
 Czech Republic 8 8 0 0 100.00% 310 58 +252
 Denmark 1 1 0 0 100.00% 19 8 +11
 England 2 0 2 0 0.00% 16 125 −109
 Fiji 2 1 1 0 50.00% 33 27 +6
 France 1 0 1 0 0.00% 7 64 −57
France French Universities 1 1 0 0 100.00% 24 20 +4
 Germany 5 5 0 0 100.00% 252 26 +226
 Ireland 4 0 4 0 0.00% 31 196 −165
Ireland Ireland Wolfhounds 1 0 1 0 0.00% 5 40 −35
Ireland Emerging Ireland 2 0 2 0 0.00% 27 65 −38
 Italy 2 0 2 0 0.00% 29 82 −53
 Italy A 5 2 3 0 40.00% 71 83 −12
 Emerging Italy 2 1 1 0 50.00% 44 36 +8
 Japan 4 1 3 0 25.00% 74 94 −20
 Kazakhstan 1 1 0 0 100.00% 17 5 +12
 Latvia 1 1 0 0 100.00% 28 3 +25
 Luxembourg 1 0 0 1 0.00% 10 10 +0
 Moldova 1 1 0 0 100.00% 47 5 +42
 Morocco 1 1 0 0 100.00% 20 10 +10
 Namibia 5 4 1 0 80.00% 112 73 +39
 Netherlands 4 3 1 0 75.00% 164 64 +100
 New Zealand 1 0 1 0 0.00% 10 43 -33
 Poland 2 0 2 0 0.00% 29 52 −23
 Portugal 20 14 4 2 70.00% 469 268 +201
 Romania 20 11 8 1 55.00% 385 348 +37
 Russia 20 18 1 1 90.00% 500 231 +269
 Samoa 3 1 1 1 33.33% 44 80 −36
 Scotland 1 0 1 0 0.00% 6 15 −9
 Scotland A 2 1 1 0 50.00% 25 90 −65
 South Africa 1 0 1 0 0.00% 19 46 −27
South Africa South Africa A 1 0 1 0 0.00% 17 31 −14
South Africa Southern Kings 1 0 1 0 0.00% 17 31 −14
South Africa South Africa President's XV 1 0 1 0 0.00% 16 21 −5
South Africa Emerging Springboks 2 0 2 0 0.00% 10 35 −25
 Spain 17 13 3 1 76.47% 547 260 +287
  Switzerland 1 1 0 0 100.00% 22 21 +1
 Tonga 5 3 2 0 60.00% 83 117 −34
 Ukraine 9 9 0 0 100.00% 281 63 +218
 United States 4 1 3 0 25.00% 75 109 −34
 Uruguay 5 3 2 0 60.00% 85 72 +13
 Zimbabwe 3 2 1 0 66.67% 58 35 +23
Total 192 117 68 7 60.94% 4430 3483 +947

World Cup[edit]

Georgia has competed in four 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 Bollaert-Delelis. The Lelos best performance was in 2015, where they finished third in a group for the first time. Georgia have to date won four World Cup matches and lost twelve.

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 Pool Stage 4 2 0 2 53 123 10 9 1 0 286 106
Japan 2019 Automatically qualified Automatically qualified
Total 4/8 16 4 0 12 197 524 46 32 3 11 1215 755

European Nations Cup[edit]

Georgia compete annually in the European Nations Cup. They won the tournament nine times in 2001, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

ENC champions
Georgian players celebrate beating Russia

Results correct up until 19 March 2016

Season G W D L PF PA +/− Pts Pos
2000 5 3 0 2 145 105 +73 11 2nd
2001 5 5 0 0 167 68 +99 15 1st
2001–02 5 3 1 1 184 84 +100 12 2nd
2003–04 10 5 1 4 193 148 +45 21 3rd
2004–06 10 8 0 2 353 125 +228 26 2nd
2006–08 10 9 0 1 292 114 +178 28 1st
2008–09 5 4 1 0 170 80 +90 14 1st
2010 5 4 0 1 158 50 +108 13 2nd
2011 5 5 0 0 168 35 +133 22 1st
2012 5 4 0 1 148 48 +100 20 1st
2013 5 4 1 0 135 61 +74 19 1st
2014 5 5 0 0 151 45 +106 22 1st
2015 5 5 0 0 158 42 +116 21 1st
2016 5 5 0 0 188 33 +155 24 1st
Total 85 69 4 12 2610 1038 +1572 268 1st

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

On 27 May, Head Coach Milton Haig named a 30-man squad for the 2016 summer tests against Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

Head Coach: New Zealand Milton Haig
Assistant Coach: France Didier Bès
Assistant Coach: Republic of Ireland Michael Bradley
Assistant Coach: Georgia (country) Levan Maisashvili
Assistant Coach: Georgia (country) Ilia Maissuradze

Caps updated: 24 June 2016

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
Bregvadze, JabaJaba Bregvadze Hooker (1987-12-01) 1 December 1987 (age 28) 37 England Worcester Warriors
Mamukashvili, ShalvaShalva Mamukashvili Hooker (1990-10-02) 2 October 1990 (age 25) 43 Scotland Glasgow Warriors
Asieshvili, KakhaKakha Asieshvili Prop (1987-04-21) 21 April 1987 (age 29) 24 France Brive
Khatiashvili, NikaNika Khatiashvili Prop (1992-05-22) 22 May 1992 (age 24) 3 France Aurillac
Mirtskhulava, IrakliIrakli Mirtskhulava Prop (1988-12-22) 22 December 1988 (age 27) 11 France Tarbes
Peikrishvili, AntonAnton Peikrishvili Prop (1987-10-18) 18 October 1987 (age 28) 23 France Bayonnais
Zhvania, ZurabZurab Zhvania Prop (1991-09-14) 14 September 1991 (age 24) 26 France Stade Français
Chkhaidze, GiorgiGiorgi Chkhaidze Lock (1982-06-24) 24 June 1982 (age 34) 94 France Lille
Nemsadze, GiorgiGiorgi Nemsadze Lock (1984-09-26) 26 September 1984 (age 31) 62 England Bristol
Tcheishvili, NodarNodar Tcheishvili Lock (1990-11-13) 13 November 1990 (age 25) 4 Georgia (country) Lelo Saracens
Bitsadze, BekaBeka Bitsadze Flanker (1991-03-24) 24 March 1991 (age 25) 17 France Chambérien
Mchedlishvili, GiorgiGiorgi Mchedlishvili Flanker (1993-01-13) 13 January 1993 (age 23) 0 Georgia (country) RC Jiki
Shubitidze, SabaSaba Shubitidze Flanker (1994-04-07) 7 April 1994 (age 22) 7 Georgia (country) Academy
Sutiashvili, ShalvaShalva Sutiashvili Flanker (1984-01-24) 24 January 1984 (age 32) 60 France Soyaux-Angoulême
Tkhilaishvili, GiorgiGiorgi Tkhilaishvili Flanker (1991-04-08) 8 April 1991 (age 25) 30 Georgia (country) Batumi
Lomidze, LashaLasha Lomidze Number 8 (1992-06-30) 30 June 1992 (age 24) 23 France Béziers
Begadze, GiorgiGiorgi Begadze Scrum-half (1986-03-04) 4 March 1986 (age 30) 48 Georgia (country) Kochebi Bolnisi
Khutsishvili, VazhaVazha Khutsishvili Scrum-half (1992-09-02) 2 September 1992 (age 23) 22 Georgia (country) Locomotive Tbilisi
Khmaladze, LashaLasha Khmaladze Fly-half (1988-01-20) 20 January 1988 (age 28) 47 Georgia (country) Lelo Saracens
Malaghuradze, LashaLasha Malaghuradze Fly-half (1986-01-02) 2 January 1986 (age 30) 70 Russia Krasny Yar
Jinchvelashvili, RevazRevaz Jinchvelashvili Fly-half (1995-08-18) 18 August 1995 (age 20) 2 Georgia (country) AIA Kutaisi
Kacharava, DavitDavit Kacharava Centre (1985-01-16) 16 January 1985 (age 31) 95 Russia Yenisey-STM
Mchedlidze, TamazTamaz Mchedlidze Centre (1993-03-17) 17 March 1993 (age 23) 42 France Agen
Sharikadze, MerabMerab Sharikadze Centre (1993-05-17) 17 May 1993 (age 23) 44 France Aurillac
Pruidze, GiorgiGiorgi Pruidze Wing (1994-06-02) 2 June 1994 (age 22) 11 Georgia (country) AIA Kutaisi
Todua, AlexanderAlexander Todua Wing (1987-11-02) 2 November 1987 (age 28) 57 Georgia (country) Lelo Saracens
Sitchinava, AnzorAnzor Sitchinava Wing (1995-10-28) 28 October 1995 (age 20) 0 Georgia (country) Academy
Kvirikashvili, MerabMerab Kvirikashvili Fullback (1983-12-27) 27 December 1983 (age 32) 95 France Montluçon
Tsiklauri, BekaBeka Tsiklauri Fullback (1989-02-09) 9 February 1989 (age 27) 24 Georgia (country) Locomotive Tbilisi

Notable players[edit]

Ilia Zedginidze

Ilia Zedginidze – 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. 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.[4]

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 and the other time with Alex Tulou against Bourgoin.[5]

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. Gorgodze played a big role in Montpellier finishing the 2010–11 Top 14 season as runners up, and had a particularly massive match in the Top 14 semi final against Racing-Métro.[6] 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. Merab Kvirikashvili Fly-half 2003– 95 78 17 745 14 129 136 3 59 33 3 63.68
2. Davit Kacharava Centre 2006– 95 79 16 100 20 0 0 0 63 29 3 67.89
3. Giorgi Chkhaidze Flanker 2002– 94 77 17 35 7 0 0 0 61 30 3 66.48
4. Irakli Abuseridze Scrum-half 2000–2013 85 76 9 40 8 0 0 0 52 30 3 62.94
5. Tedo Zibzibadze Centre 2000–2014 77 65 12 115 23 0 0 0 48 25 4 64.93
6. Levan Datunashvili Lock 2004– 75 47 28 20 4 0 0 0 46 26 3 63.33
7. Irakli Machkhaneli Wing 2002–2014 73 68 5 115 23 0 0 0 41 29 3 58.21
8. Lasha Malaghuradze Fly-half 2008– 70 42 28 176 4 36 25 3 47 21 2 68.57
9. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Wing 1997–2011 70 66 4 320 17 47 46 1 40 30 0 57.14
10. Gia Labadze Flanker 1996–2012 67 64 3 60 12 0 0 0 39 25 3 60.44
Last updated: Georgia vs Fiji, June 24, 2016. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[7]

Most tries[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1. Mamuka Gorgodze Number 8 2003– 66 61 5 130 26 0 0 0
2. Irakli Machkhaneli Wing 2002–2014 73 68 5 115 23 0 0 0
Tedo Zibzibadze Centre 2000–2014 77 65 12 115 23 0 0 0
3. Davit Kacharava Centre 2006– 95 79 16 100 20 0 0 0
4. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Wing 1997–2011 70 66 4 320 17 47 46 1
5. Bessik Khamashuridze Fullback 1998–2011 61 51 10 75 15 0 0 0
6. Merab Kvirikashvili Fly-half 2003– 95 78 17 745 14 129 136 3
7. Ilia Zedginidze Lock 1998–2011 66 64 2 65 13 0 0 0
8. Akvsenti Giorgadze Hooker 1996–2011 64 54 10 60 12 0 0 0
Gia Labadze Flanker 1996–2012 67 64 3 60 12 0 0 0
Giorgi Nemsadze Lock 2005– 62 40 22 60 12 0 0 0
Last updated: Georgia vs Fiji, June 24, 2016. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[8]

Most points[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1. Merab Kvirikashvili Fly-half 2003– 95 78 17 745 14 129 136 3
2. Pavle Jimsheladze Fly-half 1995–2007 57 55 2 320 9 61 48 3
Malkhaz Urjukashvili Wing 1997–2011 70 66 4 320 17 47 46 1
4. Lasha Malaghuradze Fly-half 2008– 70 42 28 176 4 36 25 3
5. Mamuka Gorgodze Number 8 2003– 66 61 5 130 26 0 0 0
6. Irakli Machkhaneli Wing 2002–2014 73 68 5 115 23 0 0 0
Tedo Zibzibadze Centre 2000–2014 77 65 12 115 23 0 0 0
8. Nugzar Dzagnidze Fly-half 1989–1995 12 12 0 104 3 9 22 3
9. Davit Kacharava Centre 2006– 95 79 16 100 20 0 0 0
10. Beka Tsiklauri Fullback 2008– 24 12 12 93 4 11 15 2
Last updated: Georgia vs Fiji, June 24, 2016. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[9]

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. Merab Kvirikashvili Full Back 24 1 2 5 0  Portugal Portugal Lisbon 08/02/2014
3. 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
5. Merab Kvirikashvili Fly-half 22 1 1 5 0  Japan Georgia (country) Tbilisi 17/11/2012
6. 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
8. Malkhaz Urjukashvili Full Back 19 1 4 2 0  Spain Georgia (country) Tbilisi 28/10/2006
9. 4 players on 18 points
Last updated: Georgia vs Fiji, June 24, 2016. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[10]

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 Number 8 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 Number 8 15 3 0 0 0  Spain Georgia (country) Tbilisi 26/04/2008
Zurab Zhvania Hooker 15 3 0 0 0  Germany Germany Heusenstamm 07/02/2015
Last updated: Georgia vs Fiji, June 24, 2016. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[11]

Most matches as captain[edit]

# Player Pos Span Mat Won Lost Draw % Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1. Ilia Zedginidze Lock 2002–2011 34 19 13 2 58.82 30 6 0 0 0
2. Irakli Abuseridze Scrum-half 2007–2012 31 21 9 1 69.35 15 3 0 0 0
3. Shalva Sutiashvili Flanker 2014– 14 13 0 1 96.42 5 1 0 0 0
4. Irakli Machkhaneli Wing 2013–2014 12 8 3 1 70.83 5 1 0 0 0
Zurab Mtchedlishvili Lock 1997–2007 12 7 5 0 58.33 10 2 0 0 0
Levan Tsabadze Prop 2001–2002 12 9 2 1 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. Mamuka Gorgodze Number 8 2013–2015 8 3 5 0 37.50 10 2 0 0 0
7. Nugzar Dzagnidze Fullback 1991–1994 7 5 2 0 71.42 61 2 6 11 3
8. Gia Labadze Flanker 2000–2010 6 1 5 0 16.66 0 0 0 0 0
9. 3 players on 3 matches
Last updated: Georgia vs Fiji, June 24, 2016. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[12]

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. Vasil Lobzhanidze Scrum-half 18 years and 116 days  Germany Germany Heusenstamm 07/02/2015
4. 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 Dublin 28/09/2002
6. Vito Kolelishvili Number 8 18 years and 255 days  Italy A Romania Bucharest 20/06/2008
7. Giorgi Elizbarashvili Wing 18 years and 265 days  Russia Georgia (country) Tbilisi 13/10/2002
8. Merab Sharikadze Centre 18 years and 270 days  Spain Spain Madrid 11/02/2012
9. Irakli Giorgadze Centre 18 years and 328 days France French Universities Georgia (country) Tbilisi 10/11/2001
10. Konstantin Mikautadze Lock 18 years and 345 days  Scotland A Scotland Glasgow 14/11/2008
Last updated: Georgia vs Fiji, June 24, 2016. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[13]

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. Giorgi Chkhaidze Flanker 34 years and 309 days  Fiji Fiji Suva 24/06/2016
7. Ilia Zedginidze Lock 34 years and 255 days  Argentina New Zealand Palmerston North 02/10/2011
8. Rati Urushadze Flanker 34 years and 59 days  Italy A Italy Palmanova 20/11/2009
9. Tedo Zibzibadze Centre 33 years and 316 days Argentina Argentina XV Georgia (country) Tbilisi 18/06/2014
10. Bessik Khamashuridze Wing 33 years and 309 days  Namibia Romania Bucharest 19/06/2011
Last updated: Georgia vs Fiji, June 24, 2016. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[15]

Coaches[edit]

Name Span Mat Won Lost Draw %
France Claude Saurel 2000–2003 30 16 13 1 55.00
Georgia (country) Malkhaz Cheishvili 2004–2007 35 19 14 2 57.14
Australia Tim Lane 2008–2010 28 18 9 1 66.07
Scotland Richie Dixon 2010–2011 12 9 3 0 75.00
New Zealand Milton Haig 2012– 51 32 18 1 63.72

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]