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Preview: Georgia v Japan

16th November 2012 15:59

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Levan Datunashvili Georgia 2012

Levan Datunashvili: 50th cap for Georgia

Japan will be keen to build on last week's win over Romania when they face Georgia in Tbilisi on Saturday.

That triumph marked the first time in 25 attempts they had beaten a European side at home.

Their first Test match in Europe was in 1973 against France which ended in a 30-18 win for les Bleus.

Last week's win over Romania came on the back of three disappointing defeats in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup in June as they lost to Tonga, Fiji and Samoa by narrow margins in front of their own supporters.

This weekend's match is only the second meeting between these two sides. The first Test between the them was in 2006 when Japan beat the visitors convincingly 32-7 in Osaka.

Daisuke Ohata was Japan's hero in that clash, crossing over for three tries. Second row Hitoshi Ono and number eight Takashi Kikutani are Japan's only survivors from that match, while Georgia's line-up boast three players - centre David Kachavara, scrum-half Irakli Abuseridze and lock Levan Datunashvili - who were in action that day.

Georgia are keen to regain some momentum after losing consecutive matches against Canada (31-12) and USA (36-20) in June. Their form during the European Nations Cup in Febuary and March had been good, with a 19-13 win over Romania in Bucharest being the highlight.

A loss for Georgia this weekend would see them lose their third consecutive Test - something they have not done since 2009.

The Georgians have a sizeable advantage over Japan in terms of pack size. Georgia's eight weigh in at an average of 110kg per man, compared to the visitors' 105kg.

They have a more experienced starting XV with a total of 543 caps compared to Japan's 407 caps.

In all, there are five players in the Japan starting XV who have 10 caps or less. This compares to three in the Georgian side.

The visitors' bench is littered with inexperience, with Haruki Ota and Takuma Asahara set to make their debuts off the replacements bench.

Georgia require seven more points to break the 3,300 barrier in Test rugby.

It is an eventful occasion for Levan Datunashvili who will make his 50th appearance for his country. Datunashvili, who plays for Aurillac in France's Pro D2, made his debut in a 6-6 draw with Spain in 2004.

Rugby Union betting odds

Previous result:
2006: Japan won 32-7

The teams:

Georgia: 15 Irakli Kiasashvili, 14 Irakli Machkhaneli, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Merab Kvirikashvili, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (c), 8 Mamuka Gorgodze, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Shalva Sutiashvili, 5 Levan Datunashvili, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 David Khinchagishvili.
Replacements: 16 Yuri 'Irakli' Natriashvili, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 David Kubriashvili, 19 Vakhtang Maisuradze, 20 Giorgi Begadze, 21 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 22 Lasha Khmaladze.

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Toshiaki Hirose (c), 13 Tomohiro Senba, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Hirotoki Onozawa, 10 Kosei Ono, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Takashi Kikutani, 7 Michael Leitch, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Yusuke Nagae.
Replacements: 16 Haruki Ota, 17 Takuma Asahara, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Michael Broadhurst, 20 Ryu Holani, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Go Aruga.

Date: Saturday, November 17
Venue:Mikheil Meshki Stadium, Tbilisi
Kick-off 15:00 local
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

With thanks to the IRB

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