Georgia coach's Autumn Nations Cup plea to rugby's superpowers: 'It's not an excuse, but we need time'
Georgia’s elevation into the Autumn Nations Cup has been billed as the chance to prove they warrant a place at Europe’s top table but head coach Levan Maisashvili has more limited ambitions.
Italy’s failure to win a Six Nations match since 2015 has led to calls for relegation to be introduced into the Championship with Georgia, perennial winners of the continent’s second tier competition, their most likely replacement.
Commercial imperatives mean there is unlikely to be change any time soon, but The Lelos have profitted from Japan’s withdrawal from the Autumn Nations Cup because of travel complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic by filling the vacancy.
For Maisashvili, rare fixtures against Saturday’s opponents England, Wales and Ireland and not a narrative around Championship inclusion are the real benefit of the coming weeks.
“Results and how we play is not, for me, the measure of whether we play in the Six Nations or not,” he said.
“It’s a first opportunity for us and we need time. It’s not an excuse, but we need time. Who knows what will happen?
“But one thing I definitely promise – Georgia will fight in every game and Georgia will take from every game experience. Game after game we will try to show we are getting better.
“But to measure our results in the tournament and then decide our place in the Six Nations or not, I don’t think that’s the correct way.
“What we need is more games against the tier one countries because, as I mentioned, every year we have only two games against the strong teams.
“Take the experience, because we never have such an opportunity on a roll in such a small time-frame against so many strong teams.
“Every year, we have only two games against Tier One countries. Now we have four weeks, week by week, to play against strong teams and to analyse our game. That’s an opportunity for us.
“Against the strong teams, if we make mistakes we have to pay a very expensive price. We have to be ready.”
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