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Georgia make late change for England, upping the forward ante

(Photo by Levan Verdzeuli/Getty Images)

Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvili has made a change to the previously announced match-day squad against England, increasing his side’s forward power for the task of toppling England at Twickenham.

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Lock Giorgi Javakhia, who was recovering from shoulder injury gets promoted to the bench instead of mid-fielder Deme Tapladze and so the Lelos will have six forwards and two backs on the bench against Eddie Jones’ England team.

“Results and how we play is not, for me, the measure of whether we play in the Six Nations or not,” Maisashvili said this week. “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?

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“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.

GEORGIA TEAM VS ENGLAND
Backs: 15. Lasha Khmaladze (83 caps, 53 points), 14. Akaki Tabutsadze (3 caps, 30 points), 13. Giorgi Kveseladze (25 caps, 20 points), 12. Merab Sharikadze (67 caps, 60 points, captain), 11. Sandro Svanidze (*), 10. Tedo Abzhandadze (16 caps, 53 points), 9. Gela Aprasidze (26 caps, 24 points);

Forwards: 1. Mikheil Nariashvili (62 caps, 10 points), 2. Shalva Mamukashvili (75 caps, 50 points), 3. Beka Gigashvili (14 caps, 5 points), 4. Lasha Jaiani (2 caps), 5. Grigor Kerdikoshvili (2 caps), 6. Beka Saginadze (13 caps, 5 points), 7. Giorgi Tkhilaishvili (58 caps, 60 points), 8. Beka Gorgadze (28 caps, 40 points);

Substitutes: 16. Jaba Bregvadze (59 caps, 15 points), 17. Guram Gogichashvili (15 caps, 5 points), 18. Lexo Kaulashvili (1 caps), 19. Otar Giorgadze (26 caps, 25 points), 20. Tornike Jalagonia (1 cap); 21. Vasil Lobzhanidze (52 caps, 40 points), 22. Sandro Todua (86 caps, 65 points), 23. Giorgi Javakhia (2 caps)

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ENGLAND XV STARTERS
15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 43 caps)
14. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 51 caps)
13. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)
12. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 30 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 57 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (c) (Saracens, 83 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 100 caps)
1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 50 caps)
3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)
4. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 16 caps)
5. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 65 caps)
6. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 39 caps)
7. Jack Willis (Wasps, uncapped)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 52 caps)

FINISHERS
16. Tom Dunn, (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 60 caps)
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 36 caps)
19. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 4 caps)
20. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 24 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 3 caps)
22. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, uncapped)
23. Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 3 caps)

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Nickers 1 hours ago
'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time'

Extreme hyperbole from Biggar. NZ have played far, far worse than that. The 20/21 team was by far the worst of the professional era. Losses to Argentina, shambolic game against Japan and hapless NH tour of 2021. But even that dreadful team were able to put 50 points on Wales and beat them by 38. Much easier to “tear them to pieces” from the commentary box apparently. Ignored by virtually everyone is how good the ABs defence was. That is why England didn’t win, they simply could not score enough points against that defence. The ABs attack was very average, but their defence was world class and that’s what won them the game. Any Wales team that Biggar has ever played for would have found themselves in the same situation and would definitely not have scored tries from those cross kicks. That ABs team beats Biggar’s best Wales team 31 - 13. England’s attack was as good as it was allowed to be by a superior defence. Hats off to Hansen, he has picked up where MacLeod finally got the ABs to last year and not missed a step. England’s attack will be a big worry for Borthwick. They have not established a reliable, repeatable way to break teams down and score points. They were held to some very low scores by average teams in the 6N, and again here didn’t cross 20 points on either occasion. If I was an England fan I would be crying out for a new attack coach. Borthwick would do well to cast his net now, a poor home winter with a faltering attack will start the calls for his job.

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T
Thomas 1 hours ago
'Champions get up when they can't': Matt Williams weighs in on Ireland's win over Boks

While both teams have their particular positives, I think neither team should rest on their laurels. South Africa managed to tie a series against an uncomfortable opponent, that has had their numbers for a couple of years, while trial-running a completely new attack system, that still doesn’t work properly. But one aspect of “it doesn’t work yet” is a transition from attack to defense in broken play, as the Boks leaked three tries in two matches this way, and lost the second match as a result. Ireland avoided a series loss in a hostile environment, and in spite of many key player injuries, while managing to significantly improve and tighten their defense in game 2 (which demonstrates the breadth of their squad as well as their ability to adjust and recalibrate). At the same time, their own attack hadn’t amounted to much, either (save from exploiting the gaps in the Boks’ new system, gaps that won’t be there anymore in a few months’ time), and they haven’t found an answer to the Boks scrum, which almost costed them the 2nd match, if it hadn’t been for pretty much unrepeatable Frawley heroics. In the end, there isn’t much that separates those two sides … which is exactly what we knew before the series already. Back to the drawing board for both teams, the work only just begins for two teams with the highest ambition. Start of a cycle alright.

16 Go to comments
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FEATURE 'The All Blacks won the series, but not in the way they wanted' 'The All Blacks won the series, but not in the way they wanted'
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