Georgia’s rise in rugby over the past 20 years has been substantial.
From their first qualification into a Rugby World Cup in 2003 to finishing third in their pool in the 2015 World Cup and their yearly rise up the World Rugby rankings to 12th best in 2020, Georgia has become a talented side with a huge amount of potential.
They have won the Europe Rugby Championship eight out of the past nine times, beating Romania, Russia, Portugal, Belgium and Spain every year to be crowned the champions of the competition through the use of their dominant scrum, lineout and driving maul.
The Georgian team is clearly head above shoulders compared to the other teams in the second division championship in Europe.
On top of this, Georgia were impressive in last year’s Rugby World Cup, finishing fourth in their pool and losing to Wales 43-14, Fiji 45-10 and Wallabies 27-8.
Empathetically Winning their match against Uruguay using their scrum and physicality 33-7 showcased the strength of the Georgian forward pack and how they are a force to be reckoned with.
Although largely ignored by World Rugby in their claim to be put into the Six Nations, the signs have been positive, with Georgia playing against Scotland twice before the Rugby World Cup last year, including a match hosted in Georgian capital city Tbilisi. In both matches Georgia were impressive in parts but lost 44-10 and 36-9 respectively.
This year they started well, beating Romania 41-13, Spain 23-10, Belgium 78-6 and Portugal 39-24.
After Japan pulled out of the Autumn Nations Cup due to COVID restrictions, Georgia were invited to play in the competition. This was a huge moment for the Georgian team as it is a huge opportunity for them to compete against Tier 1 Nations such as England, Ireland and Wales.
In their first trial match before the Autumn Nations Cup they played Scotland in Edinburgh and lost 48-7. The match was defined by costly handling errors and poor kicking from the Georgians.
In their first match of the Autumn Nations Cup they played World Cup runners-up England at Twickenham, suffering a heavy 40-0 defeat. Yet again the match was defined by handling errors and a poor maul defence.
Their final three matches are against Wales, Ireland and an opponent to be decided depending on where Georgia finish in their pool, most likely Fiji or Italy.
These next three matches are so important to the Georgian team as it looks to prove the point that they belong at this level. The next step in their progress is a game against Wales on Saturday Night.
To conclude, Georgia have improved drastically over the past 15 years, winning the Rugby Europe Championship eight of the last nine times and their ranking has risen every year to 12th in 2020.
Georgia have played Scotland in three matches in the past two years and hosted a Tier 1 nation for the first time against Scotland last year in Tbilisi. Now, in the Autumn Nations Cup, competing against some of the best teams in the world, they have a huge opportunity to show the world that they deserve to be at this level and deserve to be a mainstay in the Six Nations for years to come.