Great excitement has surrounded rugby in Georgia since it was announced last week that they will take part in the new Autumn Nations Cup in November, but a shooting on Wednesday has now cast a cloud over the sport in the Eastern European country.
The arrival of Georgia into a one-off Nations Cup with the Six Nations and Fiji was warmly received after the Rugby European champions were invited to fill the gap left by the decision of Japan not to take up their invite.
Georgia’s inclusion will see them face England at Twickenham, Wales at a venue to be decided and Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in November before a final game on the first weekend of December against a team from the pool featuring Italy, Scotland, France and Fiji.
That exposure will give the game in Tbilisi and beyond a massive boost. However, the sport has made the wrong type of midweek headlines in Georgia following reports of a shooting at the offices of the Georgian Rugby Union.
According to media reports, Georgian police arrested the vice president of the country’s rugby union, Merab Beselia, over the shooting of Ramaz Kharazishvili, the 32-year-old former captain of the Georgian national 7s team.
“IPN reports that Kharazishvili was allegedly shot by the vice-president of the Rugby Union, Merab Beselia, who did so following a dispute with Kharazishvili.”
— Onnik J. Krikorian (@onewmphoto) September 16, 2020
Kharazishvili was apparently shot in the leg in Tbilisi on Wednesday and had to undergo surgery, although his life wasn’t in danger.
Reports added that the shooting arose from a dispute between the two men and police have now launched an investigation focused on the alleged illegal purchase, possession and carrying of a firearm and damage to health.
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in Georgia, but Kharazishvili has also been a vocal critic of the Georgian Rugby Union in recent times.
It’s reported that last month, Kharazishvili’s Jankers club was among 32 Georgian clubs to accuse interim president Giorgi Gorgaslidze of damaging efforts to set up a task force to help rugby in the country cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
It's definitely going to be a November with a difference https://t.co/xiDp14pUh8
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 11, 2020
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