Haig wants Georgia in Six Nations

Date published: November 14 2017

Ahead of facing Wales on Saturday, Georgia head coach Milton Haig hopes his side can claim a place in a revamped Six Nations tournament.

Georgia are now 12th in the World Rankings – one place ahead of Italy in that list – following their big win over Canada over last weekend.

They now face Wales after that 54-22 victory over Kingsley Jones' side, with Haig making no secret of the long-term aim of his charges.

"The Six Nations is what we need," Haig told BBC Sport Wales in Tbilisi.

"We have talked about it for three years, it is what we need to improve our game.

"But also geographically, it is the place we naturally fit. So we are just hoping we get that opportunity one day and I know the new CEO of the RFU [Steve Brown] has said they want to be open-minded which is absolutely fantastic.

"We would love the opportunity. But we understand we need to keep putting runs on the board to gain that credibility."

Haig also feels Georgia are "going the right way" to earn their spot in the tournament.

"I am not sure on the logistics, it depends on the six partners already involved, but you could imagine it would be part of an expansion to the Six Nations, rather than promotion and relegation," he added.

"Whichever way it is, if we get the opportunity, we will take it with both hands."

Wales and Georgia have never met before but will face off on Saturday and in the group stage at the 2019 World Cup.

"We played the All Blacks in Cardiff in 2015, but to go back to play Wales, an iconic team and an iconic stadium, we are pretty rapt," Haig continued.

"Because of the World Cup draw, it adds more interest…. we have always wanted these types of matches to help us improve and we are very grateful to Wales for giving us this opportunity.

"The boys have been talking about it for a long time.

"Wales are constantly in the top six in the world, so this is a great challenge for us.

"As a New Zealander, we always respect Wales. They have a huge reputation."

Haig would also like to see at least one Georgian side competing in the PRO14 sooner rather than later.

"In the long run, we want as many of our players as possible playing in the best competitions in the world," he said.

"We don't mind which hemisphere that is, but again, geographically, you would think being in a northern hemisphere competition would suit us better, which it would.

"That is all we are looking at. We are saying 'look, we are constantly searching for competitions that our players can play in, that will improve our individual play', for when we come together collectively as a national team.

"Whether it is PRO14, Top 14 or Pro D2 in France, or a super competition down south, we don't really mind, it is just continually making sure we can search for competitions to improve our play.

"Interest levels in rugby continue to grow in Georgia and we want that to continue. It is the most popular sport in the country now.

"Watching our 14, 15 and 16-year olds, it is scary, it is like watching the All Blacks coming through and we want more of that."

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