Georgia have bolstered their coaching staff ahead of the Rugby World Cup next year, with the addition of Graham Rowntree as the team’s forwards coach.
Rowntree has been out of rugby since he parted ways with Harlequins in the summer, where Adam Jones was retained as scrum coach and Alex Codling was brought in as forwards coach.
The former England and Harlequins man can also list the British and Irish Lions and Leicester Tigers on a coaching resume that has spanned 11 years to date. Before hanging up his boots in 2007, Rowntree made nearly 400 appearances for Leicester Tigers, as well as representing England 54 times and touring with the Lions in 2005.
The addition of a coach with the wealth of experience that Rowntree has is quite the coup for Georgia, who parted ways with their former forwards coach Brad Harris in July.
Rowntree will now link up with Georgia head coach Milton Haig and attempt to add to the already formidable proposition of the Georgian pack and, in particular, the Lelos’ renowned scrummaging ability.
The first test Rowntree will face comes this autumn, when Georgia take on Italy on November 10th in Florence, in a match that is highly-anticipated given the clamour for the Georgians to be admitted to the Six Nations in recent years.
With a pool also boasting Australia, Wales, Fiji and Uruguay at the RWC in Japan next year, the odds are stacked against the Lelos to emerge from the pool and qualify for the quarter-finals, but Haig will be hoping that Rowntree can add to Georgia’s ability at the set-piece and make them competitive against both Wales and Australia, as well as Fiji, who beat them 37-15 in this summer’s Pacific Nations Cup.
Watch: England scrum coach Neal Hatley on scrummaging with Georgia.
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