Thursday, February 17, 2011

Georgia loom as tough World Cup opposition

Former U.S.S.R republic, Georgia are looking very strong after two rounds of the current European Nations Cup which involves the six best European countries after the powerhouses competing in the Six Nations. Georgia will face Argentina at this years Rugby World Cup in what will be the final match for both country´s and will be held in Palmerston North. In Rugby World Cup 2007 Georgia scored an impressive 30-0 victory over Namibia and very nearly pulled off the greatest upset of all time vs Ireland. The Lelos will surely no be underestimated by their higher ranked opponents - Argentina, England and Scotland who will all need to bring their ´A´ game or the improving Georgians could repeat and even do better than they did vs Ireland in 2007. Romania are also in the group.

The European Nations Cup (ENC) started two weeks ago with a full round of three matches and it was Georgia who underlined themselves as the team to beat with an impressive 62-3 victory over Ukraine in Tblissi. In round one Rugby World Cup 2011 debutants, Russia were also successful as they defeated Spain 28-24 in Madrid while Portugal managed to shock Romania 24-17 in Lisbon. In round two, played one week latter, Georgia again impressed at home with a ruthless 60-0 victory over Spain. Russia hosted Portugal who repeated their performance vs Russia as os Lobos won 21-19. Romania vs Ukraine was postponed. In short, Georgia top the group and look untouchable as the team is packed with professional players based mainly in France and increasingly playing in the Top 14 for teams including Brive, Castres, Clermont, Montpellier and Toulon. The Lelos forwards have been able to take apart opponents and not only Ukraine and Spain but also both Canada and the United States in November 2010. Los Pumas will need to be prepared as it is not only the clashes vs England and Scotland that will be tough - Georgia are coming too. The emergence of Georgia is further reason for Rugby World Cup 2023 to be held in Argentina rather than in a place which has already hosted such as Australia or South Africa.  

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