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Georgia captain apologises to support

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'I want to apologise to our supporters'

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

The captain of the Georgian Rugby team has apologised to his side’s supporters after they slumped to a 45 – 10 loss to Fiji in the Rugby World Cup.

Merab Sharikadze was proud of his team’s commitment could not hide his disappointment over the outcome.

“I want to apologise to our supporters,” he said. “We know how much this game means for them. And we’re very sorry that we couldn’t make them happy.

“All the commitment does nothing unless you get some points.”

Asked why they didn’t take the opportunities they had, he said: “I don’t know. Probably we just couldn’t execute it well enough to get some points from them. The Fijians played very well. The result is very disappointing.”

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Georgia, fresh from a 33-7 win over Uruguay, trailed only 7-3 at half-time and veteran Mamuka Gorgodze kept them in the game with a second-half try but coach Milton Haig admitted his side had no answers when Fiji went up a gear.

“Once you let them offload the ball and they get it behind you with their line breaks, they’re pretty hard to stop,” he said.

“They’re the best in the world at open play. Once they get their tails up, they’re pretty good at throwing that ball around and running at you.”

On whether the four-day turnaround following Georgia’s previous match, a 33-7 win against Uruguay, affected the team negatively, the New Zealander said: “No, we’ve planned for that. A lot of the guys that played this game didn’t play against Uruguay, so that’s not a factor.”

“As I said, once Fiji get in behind you, they’re pretty hard to stop.”

Fiji coach John McKee was delighted his team were finally able to parade their talents on the big stage as they stormed to the face-saving win.

Back-to-back defeats at the hands of Australia and Uruguay had left Fiji bottom of Pool D, but a bonus-point victory over the Georgians boosted their hopes of a top-three finish that would guarantee automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup.

McKee said: “That was a great effort by the boys and a real arm-wrestle for the first, probably, 45 or 50 minutes, but to come home so strong and score some really good tries is very pleasing.

“It’s great to see us scoring some tries out wide and showing our talents to the world.”

Winger Semi Radradra was the star of the show, helping create his side’s first three tries before going on to claim two of his own as Fiji cut loose with 28 points in the last 20 minutes of the match at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashiosaka.

Radradra said: “We had a licence to roam around the field and we took the opportunity today and I scored a couple of tries.”

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'I want to apologise to our supporters'