Rugby World Cup: Wallabies v Georgia preview - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

Rugby World Cup: Wallabies v Georgia preview

Rugby World Cup: Wallabies v Georgia preview

The Wallabies will be looking to finish off the group stages on a high when they face Georgia on Friday night. Their path to the quarters was secured after Wales overcame Fiji on Wednesday night and they will be hoping to build their confidence before they likely take on England (unless Uruguay pulls off another massive upset).

They face the 13th ranked Georgia, who will be looking to secure qualification for the 2023 World Cup with a win. Georgia has had a less than ideal World Cup campaign, with the Milton Haig-coached side eager to show their class and cause an upset over the Wallabies before they head home.

Background

The Wallabies got off to a slow start in 2019, losing 35-17 to the Springboks at Ellis Park in a sloppy performance that saw the side waste possession and opportunities. The side would bounce back over the next fortnight, defeating the Pumas 20-16 and producing their greatest performance since the last World Cup to dominate the All Blacks 47-26 at Optus Stadium.

Unfortunately, this dream turned into a nightmare, with the All Blacks dominating from the opening whistle the following week, shutting out the Wallabies 36-0 in a disappointing performance with the Bledisloe on the line. They would regain some form in their final warmup game, with a second-string side defeating Samoa 34-15.

The Wallabies got their World Cup campaign off to a shaky start, with a come-from-behind 39-21 victory against Fiji to open their Rugby World Cup campaign. They trailed for the majority of the match, before the injection of halfback Will Genia and a double to hooker Tolu Latu changed the contest, with the Wallabies scoring 27 points in the second half to secure victory.

This continued into their following game, falling to a narrow three-point loss to Wales. The Aussies were unable to overcome a slow start and some questionable refereeing decisions, which all but shattered their dreams of topping the group. They bounced back with a dominant 45-10 win over Uruguay, with Tevita Kuridrani and Dane Haylett-Petty pressing their case for selection with a double.

Georgia v Romania - FIRA-AER European Nations Cup Division 1A

Georgia started 2018 on a low note with loses against Fiji, Japan and Italy. However, they followed this with an impressive 7 game winning streak, which saw them secure wins over the likes of Samoa, Tonga and Russia. They were brought back down to Earth with two crushing losses to Scotland in their final warm-up games before the World Cup.

Their tournament got off to a sour note after a thumping 43-14 loss to Wales who blew them off the park in the opening half. However, they would show their class against Uruguay, avoiding a similar fate to Fiji with a dominant 33-7 victory. They then had their dreams of making the knock-out stages crushed with a 45-10 loss to Fiji.

Team News

The Wallabies have switched up the majority of the team, highlighted by the selection of David Pocock as captain and openside flanker. Pocock has relieved Michael Hooper of the captaincy, with Waratah Jack Dempsey slotting in as the other flanker.

Only five players from the starting side that defeated Uruguay have retained their position, with Dempsey, Nic White, Matt To’omua, Kurtley Beale and Jordan Petaia the only players retained from the starting line-up, with the 19-year-old sensation swapping to the right-wing after his incredible debut.

The other big change that has been implemented is the selection of Matt To’omua at flyhalf, with Christan Lealiifano selected on the bench.

UPDATE: Michael Hooper and Adam Coleman have been ruled out of the squad, with Lurkhan Salakaia-Loto and Rob Simmons taking their place on the bench.

adios-pocock

Georgia coach Milton Haig has selected virtually the same starting XV who lost against Fiji. Scrum-half Gela Aprasidze replaces Vasil Lobzhanidze, and Beka Saginadze comes in for Giorgi Tkhilaishvili in the back row. Both Lobzhanidze and Tkhilaishvili drop to the bench.

Key Match-Ups

RUGBYU-IRL-GEO

Merab Sharikadze v Samu Kerevi
Samu Kerevi will be hoping for a big game against Georgia after coming off the bench in the win over Uruguay. With the flyhalf position still uncertain, Kerevi needs to relieve pressure on his inside man and improve his distribution. He passed just twice during the loss against Wales, so he needs to spread the ball and help create more width in their attack.

He comes up against Merab Sharikadze, who represents the emerging talent that is coming through the Georgian system. The 26-year-old plying his trade for Stade Aurillacois in the Pro D2 and he shapes as their main threat in attack. He needs to command possession and take the game on if Georgia wants to compete against their much-fancied rivals.

Photo by Keith McInnes

Photo by Keith McInnes

Mamuka Gorgodze v David Pocock
The big change in the Wallabies side was the inclusion of David Pocock as the starting openside flanker and captain. I noted in my last preview that I feel that Australia plays better with a specialist blindside, which was backed up by Dempsey’s strong showing against Uruguay. It will be interesting to see how the pair play together, and a dominant performance by Pocock could leave Michael Hooper nervously looking over his shoulder.

He faces Mamuka Gordgodoze, who profiles as more of a lock/blindside with his impressive size and strength. “Gorgodzilla” came out of his almost two and a half year retirement for this tournament and he will be looking to finish off with a high. Expect him to try and bully the Wallabies back-row and control the advantage line.

Numbers that matter (Thanks to Opta Sports)

22: The game marks the first team that both teams will meet, marking the 22nd different nation that Australia has played
18/18: Australia’s record against tier two nations, with the average margin of victory in these games sitting at 46 points
8/8: Australia have never lost their final pool stage game at a World Cup, winning all eight by an aggregate total of 314-98
57,8: Georgia have scored their most points (57) and tries (8) in a single Rugby World Cup campaign at this year’s tournament.
151: Australia averages 151 carries throughout the World Cup, the second-highest behind New Zealand.
240: Giorgi Kveseladze is the only player from Georgia or Australia yet to miss a minute of the action at this year’s Rugby World Cup,

Predictions

I think the Wallabies should win pretty comfortably against Georgia, putting together a relatively dominant performance to build their confidence heading into the knock-out stages. Whilst Georgia have the quality to trouble the Aussies when they’re at their best, I think their minds will already be back home after a disappointing campaign and I expect Petaia and O’Connor to cause havoc.

Match Prediction: Wallabies by 26
Bold Prediction: Jordan Petaia/James O’Connor 3+ tries

Match Details

Wallabies (15-1): Kurtley Beale, Jordan Petaia, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua, Nic White, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock (c), Jack Dempsey, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Lurkhan Salakaia-Loto, Will Genia, Christian Lealiifano, Dane Haylett-Petty

Georgia (15-1): Soso Matiashvili, Giorgi Kveseladze, David Kacharava, Merab Sharikadze (c), Alexander Todua, Lasha Khmaladze, Gela Aprasidze, Beka Gorgadze, Mamuka Gorgodze, Beka Saginadze, Konstantine Mikautadze, Giorgi Nemsadze, Beka Gigashvili, Shalva Mamukashvili, Shalva Mamukashvili

Reserves: Jaba Bregvadze, Guram Gogichashvili, Giorgi Melikidze, Otari Giorgadze, Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, Vasil Lobzhanidze, Lasha Malaguradze, Tamaz Mchedlidze

Date: Friday October 11
Venue: Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka Prefecture
Kick-off: 9:15 pm AEDT (7:15pm local time)
Where to Watch: Fox Sports 3 (Channel 503), RWC 4K (499) and Channel 10 (Free To Air)

Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Fiji)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

  • Hoss

    Me thinks you have been a tad PC with your predictions Mr Williamson.

    Wallabies by 50+. Petaia to score quadruple.

    • Nutta

      Fortune favours the brave

      • Hoss

        We will see Cheika’s ‘minerals’, or lack thereof come QF selection time.

        From the cheap seats, i would have Petaia in run-on, Tupou on the pine. As my favourite guitarist always said ‘it’s better to burn out than to fade away’

        • Greg

          Old man, look at my life
          I’m a lot like you were

        • Hoss

          Gregory – i’ve been in my mind, it’s such a fine line.

        • Nutta

          I thought the Krueger said that?

        • Hoss

          What band was he in ?

        • Nutta

          Highlander. One hit wonders whose only hit track was “There can be only one”.

  • Who?

    Mamuka Gorgodze will be playing more against Naisarani in style. The more interesting clash for Pocock will be against Beka Gorgadze. Gorgodzilla is a monster in the contact, Gorgadzilla’s a more skilful player. Looking to contest, he’s been described as the Georgian forward who’d fit best in Super Rugby. It should be a great contest.
    Then we can look forward to the scrums………

  • Missing Link

    key match-ups could be summarised down to “some bloke who’s surname ends in ‘shvili’ or ‘dze’ vs. some bloke wearing a gold jersey”

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,
    TBH mate this should be a 40+ win at least. Certainly anything under 30 will be seen as a loss. It’ll be interesting to see how some of the people here with their previously locked in selection being threatened react to the pressure. In this match it won’t matter and lets be sure, it’s the one against England that really counts. Especially now that they are likely to be a bit underdone with their game against France being cancelled

    • UTG

      Who’s the previously locked in selection?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Maybe feeling the heat rather than locked in is a better way of saying it. I think some of the players feeling heat for selection are Rodda, Simmons, SLS, Tupou (admittedly as a reserve), Kepu, Sio, Genia. TBH it’s good to see there seems to be more competition for the positions and hopefully that’ll make for some good play

        • Brumby Runner

          Got me a bit flummoxed there KRL.

          In what way is Simmons feeling the heat? The starting locks look to be Arnold and Rodda, with Colemen on the bench. I think Rob’s flame has finally blown out.

          I personally can’t see Rodda in any challenge for his starting spot.

          SLS, or LSL to be more accurate, is an ideal bench player, able to cover both lock and back row and provides an option at lineout time. If he’s not on the bench, I thin k he’s more likely to be starting in the 6 spot.

          Kepu is certainly feeling the heat from Tupou, but both Sio and Genia are certainties for the 23. In Genia’s case, there is no other option in the squad beyond Will and White.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I guess I’m just seeing a bit more options in these games where some players are being given opportunities to play they haven’t had in the past. Maybe I’m just confusing myself. I do that sometimes, makes for interesting rulings when I’m reffing

        • UTG

          That’s a good list, I’d agree with most of them. Rodda I’m not sure about but that’s mainly because I haven’t been impressed enough with the reserve locks. Sio was pretty decent against Wales, imo, but there’s really no difference between he and Slipper and Slipper’s scrummaging looks a tad more solid. Tupou and Kepu are competing for the same bench spot so one will definitely miss out.

    • Hoss

      Afternoon Shagger,

      I see the SMH already reporting whispers the SD’s v Frogs game for Saturday will be cancelled today – effectively locking in Us v SD’s for the QF. Interesting though the Japan v Haggis eater XV will go ahead at the same venue only 24 hours later ?

      • The Blind Seer

        The issue is traveling during a typhoon. Trains will be stopped, taxis will stop, cars ordered off the road. This is a violent storm. Max wind gusts 270kph. It will move through quickly though so all should be fine the next day (unlikely to be much damage to the stadium). Here is the best site to track the typhoon.

        https://www.jma.go.jp/en/typh/

      • Huw Tindall

        It’s officially cancelled. Bring on the underdone SDs. I’m 50/50 about the Japan v Scotland game getting canned. On one hand it’d really annoy my Scottish friends which would be a laugh but then it should be a humdinger of a match with literally their tournaments on the line.

        • Patrick

          I desperately want to see that match it will be excellent I think, and I love watching Japan play

        • Hoss

          I’d give the jocks a wide berth mate. Their still a bit raw from Mr Joubert (correct decision anyhow and he’d given them a leg up all game anyhoo) they may be a touch punchy if they miss out on this one due to some Lebanese Tornado called Habibi.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah but it’ll be better because their flights to Japan are also cancelled so they can’t even enjoy an onsen and an ice cold Kiren plus a pair of used panties from the vending machine.

  • Nick Gregory

    “Adam Ashley Cooper will equal the mark set by George Gregan at 20 caps if he also makes an appearance.” Meanwhile he’s not on the team sheet.

  • Anonymous bloke

    Hooper and Coleman late scratching. LSL and Simmons to replace

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Bummed I will miss watching my two teams play each other due to time zone/work. I hope for the Lelo’s sake that it’s closer than you guys are predicting, but I suspect you’re right.

    Georgians are (rightly) noted for their contact in the forwards, but they’re developing some real talent in the backs as well. I saw Aprasidze in the U20s a couple of years back and thought he was the real deal – can kick a goal from halfway for one thing. Lobzhanidze is a hard act to follow, but I’m not sure why Apra hasn’t been given more time. Still young though.

    Matiashvili is also one to watch at 15 if he gets a chance to shine. e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE6fuub9By0

    Farewell to Mamuka and Milton – absolute legends in Georgia and can drink for free just about anywhere. Milton was very quick to help me with a team-signed jersey for some charity stuff, so I’m forever grateful to him. Oh, and you won’t find his name anywhere on the team sheet, but if you look closely at the coaches’ box, you might find GAGR fan-favourite Richard ‘Woody’ Graham lurking in there as backs coach. Graham Rowntree is the forwards coach.

  • Patrick

    50 point win is the minimum standard here I think, really, given the team we’ve picked.

  • Patrick

    On the bright side Ben Skeen is in the box seat for Japan Scotland. Why the bright side? Because with any luck the Japanese will politely revoke his visa at half time… I’m so sick of him. You can always tell when he’s TMO, as soon as the TMO is involved, first because it is basically all the time, second because you can see the ref asking himself the same question as you are: wtf am I looking for here??

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

More in Rugby