Georgia head coach Milton Haig has made three changes in personnel for Sunday’s clash with Ireland in Dublin.
Georgia head coach Milton Haig has made three changes in personnel for Sunday’s clash with Ireland.
The vastly experienced Irakli Machkhaneli – Georgia’s captain in last weekend’s 23-9 loss to Tonga in Tbilisi – misses out due to a shoulder injury.
Sandro Todua, who plays for Georgian champions Lelo Saracens, replaces him with Tamaz Mchedlidze moving to the right wing.
Outside centre David Kacharava takes over the captaincy duties of the mostly French-based Georgian side. Ex-Edinburgh forward Dimitri Basilaia returns from injury at number 8 and Giorgi Nemsadze takes over from Levan Datunashvili in the second row.
“We have prepared well this week. We looked at areas where we can improve from the Tongan game and now we have to make sure we implement our game-plan,” said New Zealander Haig.
“We’re all very excited about the opportunity we have and know we must make the most of playing one of the best teams in the world.”
Toulon flanker Mamuka Gorgodze (knee) and Clermont Auvergne prop Davit Zirakashvili (concussion) are among the notable absentees from the Georgian squad, but they can count on four players who lined out against Ireland at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
The Lelos were beaten 14-10 in a closely-fought pool game in Bordeaux. Merab Kvirikashvili, who starts at full-back on Sunday, kicked a penalty and converted winger Giorgi Shkinin’s try that night.
The other survivors from the game seven years ago are centre Kacharava, lock Datunashvili and back rower Giorgi Chkhaidze, with the latter two on bench duty this weekend.
Georgia:15 Merab Kvirikashvili, 14 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 13 David Kacharava , 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Sandro Todua, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Giorgi Begadze, 8 Dimitri Basilaia, 7 Vito Kolelishvili, 6 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 5 Giorgi Nemsadze, 4 Kote Mikautadze, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Simon Maisuradze, 17 Zurab Zhvania, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Levan Datunashvili, 20 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 21 Vazha Khutsishvili, 22 Lasha Malaguradze, 23 Muraz Giorgadze