Prior to the start of the 2011 Rugby World Cup finals, Georgia would have looked at the Romania game as their best chance for victory but after Scotland struggled in their opening match against the Romanians in Invercargill, Richie Dixon’s side will be seriously considering the possibility of a win in this fixture.
This is the first time that these two nations have met in any international rugby match so for once there is no history to take into account but you can be certain that Scotland’s coach Andy Robinson will have analysed the Georgian’s game ahead of this fixture.
There has been great media interest in the fact that Robinson has made no fewer than 11 changes to the starting line up from that narrow win over Romania although the coach insists that this is more to do with the quick, four day turnaround between these group matches.
Several observers aren’t convinced however and it is certain that Robinson will have been disappointed with the performance in Scotland’s opening game. A change in personnel will have answered any question of complacency within his squad.
If however, Robinson is tinkering with his side then there is a hint that he may be underestimating the strength of this Georgian unit and that could play right into the hands of Richie Dixon’s men.
After recording their first World Cup tournament victory against Namibia in 2007, Georgia have strengthened as a rugby playing nation and they will be desperate to build on that success from four years ago.
In that period, Georgia have cemented their position as the seventh best side in European rugby and are regular winners of the European nations cup. Many believe that this side would make a welcome addition to the Six Nations tournament and as such, they pose a serious threat to any Scotland team.
As for Georgia’s opponents, Simon Danielli is one of the players to be rested and Georgia will welcome that move after the winger’s two late tries secured his side’s opening victory in this tournament.
The danger could therefore come from any one of Scotland’s backs including Sean Lamont, Dan Parks and Nick de Luca but the main issue for anyone facing Robinson’s side is the Scot’s unpredictably.
While they undoubtedly struggled against the Romanians, this is a side capable of beating anyone on their day and they remain a danger in Group B.
As for the Georgians themselves, much will be expected from the contingent in the squad that play their rugby in France. Among them, attention has fallen upon flanker Mamuka Gorgodze and number eight Dimitri Basilaia who will help to form a powerful combination at the back of the scrum.
The man they call Gorgodzilla was voted as the Top 14’s best overseas player last season and Basiliaia wasn’t far behind him in the rankings. If Georgia are to succeed, much will depend on these two men.
Overall, this could be a very tight game and one that Georgia will be viewing with renewed optimism. In fact, if they do triumph in this fixture, would it really be fair to consider it a shock?