The reigning world champions, the Springboks of South Africa, will host The Lelos for two-test-series in July. The test matches will take place on July 3 and 10. The venues and kick off times will be announced in due course.
This is the first time Georgia will play against South Africa outside of the Rugby World Cup. So far, The Lelos have played against Bokke only once, back at the Rugby World Cup 2003, when Davit Dadunashvili scored the first ever Georgian try at the tournament!
South Africa won the title of the World Champion for the third time in 2019, and since the last Rugby World Cup Georgia is going to be the first team the Springboks will play in this rank ahead of The British & Irish Lions tour.
Right after the South African tour, The Lelos will return to Georgia to host Scotland on July 17th for the final test of Summer series. This is the first time that Georgia will hold three test matches in a row against Tier1 teams in summer.
FRIENDSHIP WITH SOUTH AFRICA
Lasha Khurtsidze, the Vice-President for High Performance and Development of Georgia Rugby Union, says that such high-level tests are the result of a friendship between Georgia and South Africa Rugby Unions:
“Playing against them is a great honor for us! We have only played South Africa once, on our first Rugby World Cupappearance back in 2003, when we scored the first try at the global rugby forum. A lot of time has passed since then, South Africa is the current world champion and Georgia has developed as well.”
“We appreciate the fact that we have friendly and close relations with South Africa Rugby. In addition to the national team, we are actively working with them on the franchise that supposed to join South African domestic premiership.
“Our under-20s have been invited on numerous occasions in last several years to very high-level tournaments in South Africa! And as leading tier one rugby nation, all this makes South Africa an important contributor to development of Georgian rugby!”
“Georgian national team has never had such important tests as this year. What could be more important than a World Champion inviting you to take part in the first two matches they play since the Rugby World Cup final? We have never had two tests in a row against a team of such level, and this is a challenge and a great honor for us.
“After the South Africa tour, Georgia will host Scotland, and this game is also important for us due to several factors. Scotland is the first Tier 1 country which has already been to Georgia and intends to pay a second visit. Which means they are satisfied with their first stay here, both in terms of sports and logistics. I see this as a kind of credit to the rugby environment they were exposed to while in Georgia. Also, this is a good incentive for other countries to see that Georgia is ready to host Tier 1 nations at a high level.”
“We also want to thank World rugby, which fulfills its promises and tries to bring the first and second tier teams closer, has made a great contribution to the fact that we have received such high-level tests this year”
GREAT PLATFORM TO SHOWCASE THE COUNTRY
Vice President of the Rugby Union Nika Alavidze recalls the details of the talks and assesses these games as an opportunity to popularize the country:
“Many thanks to the South African Rugby Union and World Rugby for this opportunity.
“South Africans made a very interesting offer to us. To hold the first test after the world cup which is a great honor for us! It is an opportunity to learn a lot, both in sports and in many other ways.
“We have the ambition to become a rugby nation, and we are working hard in this direction, thus these games are ideal in this regard. We are preparing the whole team for these highly important tests in order to present Georgia with dignity, not only in terms of sports. This is an opportunity to popularize our country.”
Nika Alavidze considers the final July test, against Scotland in Georgia on July 17 as an opportunity to restore tourism in the country:
“After two games against the world champion, we will host Scotland in Georgia, which is a huge event. The game against Scotland will be another step forward for Georgian rugby. At the same time, we want to showcase Georgia’s tourism potential and contribute to the country’s economic recovery and tourism development. International media also shows a great deal of interest toward this game.”
ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY FOR FURTHER DEVELOPEMENT
The Lelos’ Head Coach Levan Maisashvili considers the July test matches against Tier 1 nations as a great opportunity for development:
“The fact that the World Champion intends to play two test-matches against us, is a tribute to Georgian rugby and a massive challenge. We have never had three matches in a row against an opponent of such level. After the South Africa tests, we will host Scotland, and I think this is another amazing opportunity we got after November 2020. Although the Autumn Nations Cup was long time ago, Rugby Europe Championship boosted our development as well, especially in terms of attack. I hope we will be able to apply the lessons learned against opponents of this level, and our systems will stand up to this challenge”