Georgia to throw experience at NZ

Date published: September 30 2015

Georgia coach Milton Haig has named Georgia’s most experienced test side, with 655 caps, to play New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium on Friday.

This beats the previous record of 637 set in the 15-6 win over Romania earlier in the year. It is also their second oldest side at a RWC, averaging 28 years and 64 days in the starting XV.

The only Georgia side with an older average age was the team beaten by 64-7 by France on 30 September 2007.

The starting XV features 10 changes from the side that lost 54-9 to Argentina. The whole pack changes with the exception of skipper Mamuka Gorgodze, who moves from number eight to openside flanker.

The replacement front row from the Argentina game all win starting spots, as do lock Levan Datunashvili and back-row Shalva Sutiashvili, who both earned caps off the bench against the South Americans.

In the backs, only fly-half Lasha Malaguradze and centre David Kacharava maintain their starting positions, while Giorgi Aptsiauri switches wings and Tamaz Mchedlidze moves to inside centre. 

Lasha Lomidze and Beka Tsiklauri make their RWC debuts at scrum-half and full-back, respectively, while Alexandr Todua – who made four appearances at RWC 2011 – starts on the left wing.

"We've made several changes to the starting lineup purely because for the first and second game we used the same players, so these guys are fresh," said Haig.

"They haven't played any time or very little time at the World Cup and we're looking for a bit of energy agaisnt the All Blacks.

"We think with the depth that we've got in the squad it's a good chance for these players."

Georgia: 15 Beka Tsiklauri, 14 Giorgi Aptsiauri, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 11 Alexandr Todua, 10 Lasha Malaguradze, 9 Giorgi Begadze, 8 Lasha Lomidze, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze (c), 6 Shalva Sutiashvili, 5 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 4 levan Datunashvili, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Karlen Asieshvili
Replacements: 16 Simon Maisuradze, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 Anton Peikrishvili, 19 Konstantine Mikautadze, 20 Viktor Kolelishvili, 21 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 22 Merab Sharikadze, 23 Murazi Giorgadze

Date: Friday, October 2
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)