Georgia vs Russia | Extended Squad Against Russia

Georgia vs Russia | Extended Squad Against Russia

The Lelos’ coaching staff named the extended squad for the February 7 match against Russia. As you remember, the conclusive match of Rugby Europe Championship 2020, which got postponed twice, will kick off at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium at 15:00 on February 7 2021.

Uncapped Players

Due to injuries and other reasons, Levan Maisashvili lacks several leading players. The coaches invited 36 players into the extended squad; 10 from which are uncapped.

One of the invited players is 29-year-old Wasps prop Zurab Zhvania, who last played for the Lelos almost two years ago in March 2019:

“It is long since Zura played his last international, but I am sure his experience will be valuable for us,“ – says Maisashvili.

Ushangi Cheishvili, Giorgi Nutsubidze, Ioseb Gusharashvili, Sandro Mamamtavrishvili, Irakli Tskhadadze, Nika Sukhashvili, Luka Matkava, Giorgi Babunashvili, Otar Lashkhi, Temur Kokhodze – these are the players who have not yet gained Senior International caps for Georgia. According to Maisashvili, they will be integrated into the team gradually:

“We wanted to keep the same core team as at the Autumn Nations Cup; unfortunately, this does not work out. We lack 10 players from the last autumn’s extended squad; mostly – because of injuries. The pandemic also causes us issues in terms of player travel and club relations.“

“This offers us an opportunity to test new players, but they also have to be ready for this. We  play as little as 11 internationals per year, team integration is highly important and we cannot afford to use any of these matches for selection.“

“The training camp is in Georgia, which enabled us to invite as many as 36 players. Naturally, not all of them will make it to the match squad, but we will let everyone have a go at some stage“.

“We invited some young props we wanted to observe. There is a lot of young talented Georgian props in France, who will be offered a chance to show their worth. For instance, we invited Irakli Tskhadadze, who performed brilliantly in the Under 20 team but did not join the national team until now because of injuries. He currently plays in the French Top 14 and we feel he has a very good potential. We will be observing everyone during the match week, before taking a final decision“.

Preparation Stage and Planning

In the extended squad tehre are 20 forwards and 16 backs. Part of them – the Tbilisi-based group, entered the training camp on January 25. Sandro Todua, Lasha Lomidze and Sandro Svanidze could not train last week because of injuries.

“Unfortunately, three players joined selection camp with injuries and could not train. Two other players were recovering and trained under medical supervision. In the meantime, the coaching staff did a lot of planning last week – we tried to plan the game week so as to eliminate all hazards“.

Ilia Maisuradze as Forwards Coach

There is one update in the Lelos’ coahcing staff: Junior Lelos’ Head Coach Ilia Maisuradze will join the team a Forwards Coach:

“Ilia Maisuradze and Giorgi Chkhaidze will split up their functions and work with the forwards together. Ilia is an experienced specialist and, which is even more valuable, he is well familiar with the young players who now form an important part of our team“.

As at the Autumn Nations Cup, Neil Doak will work as Attack Coach, and Assistant Coach Besik Khamashuridze will train the backs.

Extended Squad Against Russia


Props: Zurab Zhvania (40 caps, 55 points), Ushangi Cheishvili (uncapped), Beka Gigashvili (18 caps, 5 points), Giorgi Nutsubidze (uncapped), Giorgi Melikidze (22 caps, 10 points);

Hookers: Shalva Mamukashvili (78 caps, 50 points), Jaba Bregvadze (62 caps, 15 points), Giorgi Chkoidze (13 caps, 5 points);

Second Row: Nodar Cheishvili (27 caps), Lasha Jaiani (6 caps), Giorgi Javakhia (4 caps), David Gigauri (6 caps, 5 points), Ioseb Gusharashvili (uncapped);

Third Row: Giorgi Tkhilaishvili (60 caps, 60 points), Beka Saginadze (17 caps, 15 points), Sandro Mamamtavrishvili (uncapped), Irakli Tskhadadze (uncapped), Mikheil Gachechiladze (12 caps, 10 points), Nika Sukhashvili (uncapped), Tornike Jalagonia (4 caps);

Half Backs: Vasil Lobzhanidze (56 caps, 40 points), Gela Aprasidze (29 caps, 24 points), Mikheil Alania (1 cap); Tedo Abzhandadze (20 caps, 118 points), Luka Matkava (uncapped), Giorgi Babunashvili (uncapped), Lasha Khmaladze (85 caps, 53 points);

Backs: Merab Sharikadze (71 caps, 60 points), Aka Tabutsadze (7 caps, 30 points), Otar Lashkhi (uncapped), Deme Tapladze (5 caps, 5 points), Mirian Modebadze (13 caps, 30 points), Tamaz Mchedlidze (60 caps, 35 points), Temur Kokhodze (uncapped), Soso Matiashvili (30 caps, 152 points), David Niniashvili (2 caps).