Rugby Europe | Four debutants for the first international of the year
The Lelos’ coaching staff named the squad for the first Intenrational of the year, against Portugal, whcih will be played at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium on February 6 (KO 15:00).
In the 23-man squad there are four debutants; of these, one (third-row forward Sandro Mamamtavrishvili) will start the game, and the other three (hooker Luka Nioradze, third-row forward Niko Aptsiauri) will be on the bench.
As regards other member of the squad – hooker Vano Karkadze and second-row forward return to the team after their last tests in 2020. Guram Gogichashvili and Beka Gigashvili start as props with Mikheil Nariashvili and Luka Japaridze as backup. Starting second-row forward Lasha Jaiani has Nodar Cheishvili as a replacement. Main third row forwards are Otar Giorgadze and Tornike Jalagonia.
Gela Aprasidze and Tedo Abzhandadze start at scrum-half and fly-half; Merab Sharikadze and Deme Tapladze start at center. Mirian Modebadze and Aka Tabutsadze are at wing, and fullback is Lasha Khmaladze. Replacement scrum-half is Vasil Lobzhanidze, and replacement back – Lasha Lomidze.
„The squad fulfilled its training plan well. We miss some players due to COVID, and the remaining squad had to be repositioned, but, fortunately, all the Black Lion players are healthy and available. Overall, the squad is not optimal, but this means we are offering less experienced players an opportunity to showcase their performance“ – says the Lelos’ Head Coach Leva Maisashvili, who is happy to have the crowd at Mikheil Meskhi on February 6 (33% of venue capacity):
„The crowd supporting us is a crucially important factor. We are happy to have our fans by our side again – they give us extra motivation and we will be doing our best to perform up to their expectations.“
Rugby Europe Championship 2022 | 1st round. February 6
Tbilisi. Mikheil Meskhi. Kick-off at 15:00
Georgia vs Portugal
Backs: 15. Lasha Khmaladze (Black Lion, 88 caps, 53 points), 14. Aka Tabutsadze (Black Lion, 15 caps, 60 points), 13. Deme Tapladze (Black Lion, 12 caps, 5 points), 12. Merab Sharikadze (Black Lion, Captain; 80 caps, 60 points), 11. Mirian Modebadze (Black Lion, 16 caps, 35 points), 10. Tedo Abzhandadze (Brive, 28 caps, 188 points), 9. Gela Aprasidze (Montpellier, 35 caps, 24 points);
Forwards: 1. Guram Gogichashvili (Racing 92, 25 caps, 10 points), 2. Vano Karkadze (Brive, 5 caps, 5 points), 3. Beka Gigashvili (Toulon, 25 caps, 10 points), 4. Grigor Kerdikoshvili (Agen, 7 caps, 5 points), 5. Lasha Jaiani (Black Lion, 12 caps), 6. Otar Giorgadze (Brive, 29 caps, 25 points), 7. Sandro Mamamtavrishvili (Black Lion, uncapped), 8. Tornike Jalagonia (Biarritz, 12 caps, 10 points).
Replacements: 16. Luka Nioradze (Aurillac, uncapped), 17. Mikheil Nariashvili (Montpellier, 67 caps, 10 points), 18. Luka Japaridze (Brive, 3 caps), 19. Nodar Cheishvili (Black Lion, 33 caps), 20. Niko Aptsiauri (Black Lion); 21. Vasil Lobzhanidze (Brive, 61 caps, 55 points), 22. Lasha Lomidze (Black Lion, 1 caps), 23. Davit Meskhi (Enisey).