Preview: Georgia v Namibia

Date published: October 6 2015

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Georgia will be eager to put the pressure on third placed Tonga in Pool C when they face off with Namibia at Sandy Park in Exeter on Wednesday.

The Lelos are two points off the Islanders going into the game and with Tonga facing New Zealand on Friday, an automatic spot at RWC 2019 is on the line.

Namibia will have other ideas and deserve huge credit for how they have played in this tournament, with many worried after their form in June. They did well to keep the margin against New Zealand down to 44 points while Tonga won by just 14 so they will enter confident of a first win.

It will be a special game for captain Jacques Burger, who will equal Hugo Horn's record of eleven appearances for Namibia in Rugby World Cups. Meanwhile, loosehead prop Johnny Redelinghuys will win his 50th cap for his country, the first Namibian player to do so in Test match history.

However, Namibia face a tough opponent in the Georgians who have eyed this game as soon as they lost to Argentina, thus leaving their quarter-final aspirations hanging by a thread. Those hopes are now gone but with key players having been rested for this match, they enter as favourites.

Mamuka Gorgodze is leading this team with real purpose and after being named man-of-the-match against the All Blacks – rightly or wrongly – he will hope to sign off from this World Cup with a win that would secure their place in Japan.

In all honesty it should be the case, which would spark scenes similar to that of full-time in their opener at Kingsholm. Tonga would then need a miracle against New Zealand but surely a repeat of 2011's heroics against France won't happen.

Ones to watch:

For Georgia: An assured kicker, Georgia will hope Merab Kvirikashvili is in top form on Wednesday. Like many of his team-mates, Kvirikashvili did not play against New Zealand so will be raring to go in Exeter, with his long-range efforts set to be key.

For Namibia: He won his first start of the tournament against Tonga and showed what a hard-running player he is. Renaldo Bothma should relish the physical nature of this game alongside Tinus du Plessis and Jacques Burger. Brace yourselves for a bruising battle up front.

Head-to-head: This one is going to be huge. Mamuka Gorgodze versus Jacques Burger are likely to follow each other around the field at Sandy Park, making collision after collision. Both have been in good try-scoring form at the Rugby World Cup and in what is likely to be Burger's last international, how fitting it is that he will look to use his trademark hard hits to stop one of the strongest runners in rugby.

Recent results:

2011: Georgia won 23-18 in Bucharest
2010: Namibia won 21-16 in Bucharest
2007: Georgia won 30-0 in Lens
2007: Georgia won 26-18 in Bucharest

Prediction: The Lelos will be too strong here and squeeze out the win. Georgia by 12!

The teams:

Georgia: 15 Merab Kvirikashvili, 14 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 13 Davit Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Lasha Malaguradze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Mamuka Gorgodze (c), 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 5 Konstantin Mikautadze, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Karlen Asieshvili, 18 Anton Peikrishvili, 19 Levan Datunashvili, 20 Lasha Lomidze, 21 Giorgi Begadze, 22 Giorgi Aptsiauri, 23 Beka Tsiklauri.

Namibia: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 David Philander, 13 Danie Van Wyk, 12 Darryl de la Harpe, 11 Russel van Wyk, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Tinus du Plessis, 6 Jacques Burger (c), 5 Tjiuee Uanivi, 4 PJ van Lill, 3 Raoul Larson, 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld, 1 Johnny Redelinghuys.
Replacements: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 Johannes Coetzee, 19 Wian Conradie, 20 Rohan Kitshoff, 21 Johan Tromp, 22 Damian Stevens, 23 Heinrich Smit.

Date: Wednesday, September 19
Venue: Sandy Park, Exeter
Kick-off: 20:00 local
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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