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Russia cancel visit to Georgia

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Russia cancel World Cup warm-up away to Georgia due to safety issues

Six Nations B champions Georgia are searching for a replacement World Cup warm-up fixture after Russia pulled out of the match arranged for Tbilisi on August 27.

The Georgians, who line up against Australia, Wales and Fiji at the finals in Japan, had hoped a match-up with their Eastern European rivals would help preparations for the tournament. 

However, the Russians, who will open World Cup 2019 with their match against host country Japan, have pulled out of the friendly, citing recent political tensions. 

In a statement issued on their website, the Russian Federation said: “We have watched with deep concern recent events in Georgia and, in particular, in Tbilisi. 

“Unfortunately, the actions of radical-minded individuals on the territory of Georgia lead to instances of disturbing public order and may pose a threat to the lives and health of people in this country.

“Due to these circumstances, the Rugby Federation of Russia considers it impossible to hold a match between the national teams of Georgia and Russia on August 27 in Tbilisi.

“The Russian Rugby Federation deeply appreciates the partnership established with the Georgian Rugby Union and considers it necessary to recall that one of the fundamental principles of our game is solidarity and mutual respect that go beyond cultural, geographical, political and religious differences. We sincerely apologise to the fans of both teams.”

Georgian Rugby president Gocha Svanidze reacted: “Unfortunately, the Russian national team will not come to Tbilisi for the Test match based on the decision taken by Russian Rugby Federation, motivated by the current situation in Tbilisi and the risk of provocations.

“We have to accept this as a fact. We are already looking for the new opposition for the Lelo’s August 27 Test. Georgia has hosted such games in the past, hosts them now and will host more in the future, always in a safe, fair and positive atmosphere.

“The safety is guaranteed by the Government of Georgia, which receives all possible support from Georgia Rugby Union. Those who already purchased tickets for Georgia vs Russia Test match can either attend the match which will be played instead of or get a reimbursement.

“The Lelos’ new opponent will be identified in the nearest days.”

WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on what the fans can expect in Japan at the World Cup

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Russia cancel World Cup warm-up away to Georgia due to safety issues