Kote Mukautadze | We have to forget who we play against and work for our progress

The Bayonne lock, Kote Mikautadze, one of the most experienced Georgian players in the current squad, joined The Lelos in England and is getting ready for Autumn Nations Cup Round Two match against Wales. 29-year-old second-row forward, who represented Georgia at Rugby World Cups 2015 and 2019, went through an 8-month recovery after heel injury.

“I pay a lot of attention to fitness and S&C; I am still far from my perfect shape after the eight-month pause, but I feel the progress from week to week,” says Kote Mikautadze, for whom this tournament equals to Rugby World Cup:

“This tournament is crucial for the development of Georgian rugby. Practically, this is the second Rugby World Cup we are playing in two years. We have to get the most out of this chance and work on all the components; which is most important, we have to do the right analysis after each game in order to be able to develop in a right way,“

We have to learn to grab the moment

While Mikautadze was finishing his rehabilitation before he could join the team, the Lelos played two games – a warm-up against Scotland and an Autumn Nations Cup match against England. Kote is satisfied with the team’s progress and says it is important that we learn to embrace the moment at this level:

“The team contains numerous new players who lack both high-level game experience and general playing exposure and teamwork because of the pandemics.“

“In spite of England vs Georgia final score, the team was noticeably better in defence. We made 100 more tackles and only 10 of them were missed. There also were improvements in terms of discipline; we got fewer penalties and had more ball control than in the last game.“

“It is important that we learn to get the most of our chances when playing against such opposition. At Rugby Europe Championship, if we fail to realize this or that specific opportunity it does not mean much because we know we will get another chance, but with Tier 1 teams the situation is different. Here we have to be more careful with the ball. When playing against England and other teams of this level, we have to try to spend less time on defence, because the opponents hardly miss any of our mistakes.“

We need to forget who we play against“

In the Second Round of Autumn Nations Cup, the Lelos will play against Wales in Llanelli on November 21. So far, we played against the Cymru twice – at Principality Stadium in 2017 (6:13) and at the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan (14:43).

It should be noted that after the first Y2020 win against Italy on February 1 Wales collected six consecutive losses. According to Kote, this boosts Wales’s motivation, though for us it is more important to improve the quality of our own performance:

“In spite of the recent losses, Wales is a very strong team and their motivation to win against us will be tenfold exactly because they had not won a game for such a long time,” says Mikautadze and adds that it is important to improve our performance:

“If we want to have any progress, we have to forget who we play against and concentrate on what we are going to do. We need to analyze the games already played and work on our weak spots. It is important to be more confident, more critical and more accurate.“