Georgia have announced their 34-man squad for their upcoming November internationals as they look to take some scalps ahead of the World Cup next year.
The team have a training camp in France from where Georgia national team will travel to Florence to face Italy on November 10 at Artemio Franchi stadium – a match billed in some quarters as a pseudo Six Nations playoff.
There are four uncapped players in the squad, but just who are they:
Another loosehead prop from the front row production line that emerges from Georgia. 116kg Gogichashvili made a name for himself at the recent World Rugby Under 20 Championship. He’s at Racing 92 and made his Top 14 debut against Agen on September 8th, four days after his 20th birthday. He’s also started in each of Racing’s Heineken Champions Cup matches so far, against the Scarlets and Ulster.
A flyhalf who has spent time in Ireland with Terenure’s Under 20’s and then was then part of the first Georgian side to beat Ireland at the World Rugby U20 Championship when they recorded a 24-20 win last summer.
He has caught the attention of Georgian head coach Milton Haig who says Abzhandadze “plays a lot older than he really is” and added “he makes good decisions, he controls people in front of him, which is a really big plus for somebody so young to direct play as well as he does, he’s a got a good kicking game and attacks the line well”. He’s currently on the books at RC AIA Kutaisi in Georgia’s domestic competition and at 19-years-old he has bags of potential.
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Watch: Georgia scrummaging session with England in February 2018
Another who has already bagged himself a contract in France, playing with Grenoble. He joined the club in 2017 originally signing a two-year contract, which has been subsequently extended to 2021. The 26-year-old had a chunk of last season taken away because of injury. He’s only played once in the Top 14 so far this season. His versatility is without question, the 114kg front rower is comfortable playing loosehead, tighthead and hooker.
Can play at number 8 or lock. He spent time in the USA playing for the Glendale Merlins and then subsequently for the Glendale Raptors in the inaugural Major League Rugby season, helping them finish top of the regular season table, only for them to falter in the post-season .
He returned to Tbilisi over the summer to play for Lelo Saracens and is called up by head coach Milton Haig for the first time.
SQUAD UPDATE | Milton Haig selected 34 for TBC Rugby Series 2018
Check out the squad and more here ? https://t.co/6gk03n8Afu
— Georgian Rugby Union (@GeorgianRugby) October 26, 2018
The three matches are likely to be the four potential debutantes last chance to stake their claim for a World Cup spot, with Haig has describing the games as key building blocks.
“With less than 11 months to go before the Rugby World Cup begins in Japan, this is an important stage in our over-all ‘Preparation Plan’ and a great opportunity to test ourselves against very good teams who will also compete at the Rugby World Cup next year.”
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