Georgian national rugby union team
|Association||Georgia Rugby Union|
|WR rank||13. (71.63 points) (as of February 4, 2020)
Most international matches for
Dawit Katscharawa and Merab Kwirikashvili (115)
Most points scored
Merab Kvirikashvili (840)
Most attempts scored
Mamuka Gorgodse (26)
First international Zimbabwe 3:16 Georgia (September 12, 1989)
Biggest win Georgia 98: 3 Czech Republic (April 8, 2002)
Biggest defeat England 84: 6 Georgia (October 12, 2003)
Best result: third in the 2015 preliminary round
The Georgian National Rugby Union Team ( Georgian საქართველოს მორაგბეთა ეროვნული ნაკრები ) represents Georgia in the sport of rugby union . Their nickname "Lelos" comes from a sport similar to rugby. Lelo was adopted by the Georgians as a term for " attempt ".
Georgia is the World Association, the International Rugby Board (IRB), in the third strength class ( third tier divided) owing to strong performance in the last time the team is but already at a higher level. In February 2008 the Georgians jumped to 14th place in the world rankings , the highest level in the association's history. This puts you above the Canadians , Romanians , Japanese and US-Americans who are actually ranked higher .
Georgia takes part in the European Nations Cup and was able to win this competition in the 2000/01 season. In 2003 and 2007 they qualified for the World Cup . At the 2011 World Cup in France, the Georgians celebrated their first World Cup victory when they beat Namibia 30-0. At the 2015 World Cup they defeated Romania 25: 9 in the preliminary round.
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in Georgia, which is also related to the tradition of lelos. This game was played between Georgian villages several centuries ago. Two teams, consisting of all the strong men in the village, met on a river or stream. An oversized, heavy ball acted as play equipment. The aim of this game was to move the ball to the other side of the water and thus push the opponent back.
Rugby, on the other hand, only became popular in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Georgia Rugby Union was founded in 1964. Until the end of the 1980s, however, the association remained part of the superior Soviet association. Consequently, the Georgians also played for the teams of the USSR .
The first international matches
In September 1989 Georgia entered rugby for the first time with its own team. Together with other nations they traveled to Zimbabwe and played a series of games against the Africans there. The first official international match was won 16: 3. The second game was lost, but the third clash with Zimbabwe was again victorious.
With the independence of the former Soviet republic on April 9, 1991, the course was set for the future of Georgian rugby. At first, however, it was difficult to find suitable opponents. The remaining Soviet states continued to exist as the Commonwealth of Independent States and so Georgia only remained Ukraine as an opponent until the IRB accepted Georgia into its ranks in 1992.
Establishment in Europe
With the signing of the French coach Claude Saurel in 1997, the quality of the Georgian game increased rapidly. In a short time rugby was able to replace soccer as the most popular team sport. Under the direction of Saurel, Georgia narrowly failed to qualify for the 1999 World Cup . In the decisive play-off match against Tonga they lost 37: 6 in Nukuʻalofa , but won the second leg in Tbilisi with 28:27.
After finishing third in the European Nations Cup in the 1999/2000 season, Georgia won this cup a year later. In the last game against Romania, the Georgians won 31:20 and so did not lose points this season. Meanwhile, some of the team's players played in France , making the sport even more popular. At the prestigious clash against Russia , 65,000 people came to the national stadium in Tbilisi.
2002 until today
In October 2002 Russia and Georgia met again. This time it was about a place at the 2003 World Cup . Over 1.5 million people watched this game live on television and Georgia left the field as the winner, 17:13. The first World Cup participation was perfect. The Georgians were drawn into Group C, along with England , South Africa , Samoa and Uruguay . In the first game of the tournament against England there was the biggest defeat for Georgia with 6:84. Against Samoa they had no chance at 9:46. The team was able to improve as a result, but also lost the two final games with 19:46 against South Africa and 12:24 against Uruguay. This closed the tournament as the last of the preliminary group. Even so, participation alone was seen as a great success.
On June 4, 2006, the Lelos met in Tbilisi to the Barbarians and narrowly lost with 19:28. In the meantime, they had been able to keep the game balanced until the score was 14:14. In this game, Paliko Jimscheladze came as the first Georgian player to 50 national team appearances and was honored for it after the game. The Barbarians then donated £ 10,000 to the financially weak Georgian Association.
The Georgians surprised at the 2007 World Cup . In the opening game against Argentina , who will later be third in the World Cup , they were only 3: 6 behind at half-time. The next game against Ireland , one of the contenders for the World Cup, almost created a sensation. Georgia lost 10:14, but the Irish were on the verge of defeat. In the last five minutes of the game, the Georgians pushed their favored opponents back into their own half, but they couldn't get any more points. The team received international recognition for this achievement and ensured, among other things, that 20 teams will also take part in the upcoming World Cup. Those responsible at the IRB had previously advocated a reduction to 16 teams due to the relatively large quality differences between the teams in the individual strength classes, but the performance of Georgia showed the opposite. In the third game of the preliminary round, Georgia managed to win their first World Cup. Namibia was clearly defeated 30-0. The final game against hosts France , however, lost the Georgian selection 64: 7. Despite the three defeats, the performance was a huge success for rugby in Georgia.
In 2008 Georgia easily won the European Nations Cup. This series of successes also brought the Lelos forward in the world rankings. The team overtook Canada and Romania and made it to 14th place.
Georgia celebrated its greatest success so far at the Rugby Union World Cup in 2015 , when it defeated Tonga and (just) Namibia in the preliminary round. Due to defeats against the eventual World Cup winners New Zealand and the semi-finalists Argentina, Georgia landed in third place, which was the best World Cup result so far and directly qualifies for the 2019 World Cup.
As of November 24, 2018
Results at world championships
|1995||Not qualified ( 2nd qualifying round )|
|1999||Not Qualified ( Barrage Round )|
|2003||Preliminary round||4th||0||0||4th||46: 200||0|
|2007||Preliminary round||4th||1||0||3||50: 111||5|
|2015||Preliminary round||4th||2||0||2||53: 123||8th|
|2019||Preliminary round||4th||1||0||3||65: 122||5|
The following players make up the squad during the 2019 World Cup :
- Dawit Khinchagishvili
- Akwsenti Giorgadze
- Paliko Djimscheladze
- Merab Kvirikashvili
- Goderdsi Schwelidse
- Levan Zabadse
- Malchas Urjukashvili
- Ilia Zedguinidze
- Tedo Zibzibadze
- World Rugby Rankings. world.rugby, February 4, 2020, accessed November 26, 2019 .
- 31-men squad for Japan 2019. Georgia Rugby Union, September 2, 2019, accessed September 6, 2019 .