Preview: Scotland v Georgia

Date published: September 13 2011

The world was shown what Georgian rugby is all about in 2007 – and four years on it will be interesting to see how far they've progressed.

The world was shown what Georgian rugby is all about in 2007 – and four years on it'll be interesting to see how far they've come against Scotland.

At the foot of the South Island sits Invercargill, where The Lelos begin their World Cup charge in what promises to be a typically robust style.

Head coach Richie Dixon has already described his men as 'made for rugby' and it is not difficult to see why, with their size immediately noticeable.

And the former Scotland boss of the mid-1990s is clearly very confident of ruffling a few of his native feathers when the teams meet on Wednesday.

“Genetically, I think they are made for rugby. They are warrior-type players. The people are fully behind this team. They realise that rugby has become a window to the world for Georgia,” he told Press Association Sport about his side, who enter the tournament in New Zealand on the back of an extremely healthy eight-game winning streak.

“I believe Andy (Robinson) and his boys will take that as a wake-up call and they will target us as a team that they will want to put on a much stronger display against.”

Confident then, despite his Scottish roots, but he is in no doubt that when it comes to the first whistle at Rugby Park, he will be all Georgian as they go for an upset performance.

“In today's professional world, you can't change your heart,” he added.

“Obviously, I'm a Scottish boy but, when I'm with the Georgian boys, I'm 100 per cent with them. It will be another international game.”

Scotland meanwhile, go into this following a difficult showing to sum up against Romania. They were struggling to put the minnows away but then a couple of late tries from Simon Danielli saw them pick up the full five points. That result sparked a mass of changes.

Wing Max Evans, prop Allan Jacobsen, Sean Lamont, and Kelly Brown are the only survivors from that opener. Lamont and Brown both make positional changes, with Lamont switching from centre to wing and Brown moving from the blindside flank to number eight.

With Alastair Kellock left out of the 22, scrum-half Rory Lawson will lead. Outside of Dan Parks, Nick de Luca and Graeme Morrison fill the midfield, with full-back Rory Lamont joining brother Sean and Evans in what is a potent back three.

Jacobsen will pack down next to Scott Lawson at hooker, with Euan Murray coming in at tighthead prop while it is no surprise that Robinson has opted for strength and size in the lock department. Jim Hamilton and Nathan Hines form an all-new heavy combination.

Players to watch:

For Scotland: He was on the bench last week but starts this. Rory Lamont is a strong runner with an agile step to boot and will cause Georgia problems if they kick down his throat. Scotland have named what in our opinion is their strongest back-three combo.

For Georgia: 27-years-old, 6ft 5in and 18st 10lb, ladies and gentlemen we give you 'Gorgodzilla'. His full name is Mamuka Gorgodze and he is a human wrecking ball for Montpellier and Georgia. We advise you to keep an eye out for the number seven.

Head-to-head: While the forward battle will be key to how this one pans out, it may be Dan Parks and Merab Kvirikashvili who have the bigger say on Wednesday. Parks is given his first start of the tournament and will want to use his side's more enterprising backline more than going back inside to the pack. Meanwhile, Kvirikashvili will play the patient game with forwards off his shoulder in a midweek clash that should see plenty of ball in hand.

Previous results: N/A

Prediction: If Romania came close, then Georgia won't be too far away. Scotland by 12!

The teams:

Scotland: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Max Evans, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson (captain), 8 Kelly Brown, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Al Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Geoff Cross, 18 Alasdair Dickinson, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Richie Vernon, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Chris Paterson.

Georgia: 15 Revaz Gigauri, 14 Irakli Machkhaneli, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tedo Zibzibadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Merab Kvirikashvili, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (capt), 8 Dimitri Basilaia, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Shalva Sutiashvili, 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze, 4 Levan Datunashvili, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 David Khinchagishvili.
Replacements: 16 Akvsenti Giorgadze, 17 David Kubriashvilini, 18 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 19 Viktor Kolelishvili, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Lasha Khmaladze, 22 Malkhaz Urjukashvili.

Date: Wednesday, September 14
Venue: Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill
Kick-off: 19:30 (7:30 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Tim Hayes (Wales)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)