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Friday, February 28, 2014

Georgia and Romania Rugby World Cup 2015 qualification highlights

Last weekend Georgia and Romania secured their places at Rugby World Cup 2015 following victories in the FIRA-AER European Nations Cup Division 1A. Georgia beat Russia 36-10 in front of over 50 000 fans in Tbilisi, while Romania beat Spain 32-6.

The team that finishes top of the ENC table will secure the prestigious Europe 1 place at England 2015, joining New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Africa 1 in Pool C.

Romania and Georgia have an unassailable lead in the competion, which doubles as RWC qualification. The runner up will join Pool D with France, Ireland, Italy and Canada.

The two teams face off in Tbilisi on March 15th to decide Europe 1 and 2.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset was present to witness the great occasion in Tbilisi.

"The European process has been a highlight of the Rugby World Cup qualification process delivering some incredibly competitive and compelling matches," said Lapasset.

"On behalf of the IRB I would like to congratulate both Georgia on Romania for booking their places at England 2015 where they will showcase the best of European international Rugby. The scene is now set for a fascinating contest in Tbilisi where the coveted Europe 1 place looks to be decided."

EXTRA: View both full matches on page two of this post

The IRB will be providing a live stream of the decisive match in Tbilisi on rugbyworldcup.com

Page: 12View All

Posted at 12:40 pm | 32 comments

Posted in Full Matches

Viewing 32 comments

hehe February 28, 2014 6:03 pm

i feel like both teams will try to lose so that they dont join NZ and get more of a chance of getting out of group stages

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finedisregard February 28, 2014 6:03 pm

I think Georgian rugby is so cool. They have next to no resources, an amateur domestic league, a small player pool, and they still produce outstanding players (especially in the pack).

Watching Georgia get increasingly better over the past 10 years has been one of the most positive stories in our sport.

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greg March 03, 2014 12:12 am

that's what happens when your whole population is part neanderthal,
your rugby players don't need professional training, especially the big ones

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Nope February 28, 2014 6:22 pm

It is actually the other way around. It is an honor to face NZ and we would love to see a clash

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Eddie-g February 28, 2014 6:29 pm

Honestly? Neither side will want to finish second. Regardless of which pool might offer a better shot at qualification, the opportunity to play NZ, in a RWC no less, will be a once in a lifetime chance for most of these players.

@Finedisregard - well said. I hope Georgia starts getting more fixture against established nations. They've done everything you could ask in terms of developing the sport, they've got a solid core of pros now playing mainly in France, and if they can draw 50k spectators to their internationals (I'm sure seeing them put one over mother Russia was a big factor, but still), there's clearly some decent momentum to build on.

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finedisregard February 28, 2014 7:15 pm

The IRB needs to help out. Maybe ultimately a 6 Nations B with promotion and relegation?

I remember reading at the WC they were playing one of the big boys. At halftime when the opposition goes into the locker room for recovery drinks, statistical and video analysis, and whatever else the Georgians just sat on the field sharing a crate of apples listening to their coach!

I think basically they are just a big strong people that have the right cultural mentality for the game.

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guest February 28, 2014 6:40 pm

more like they'll join ireland in pool D!!!

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Juggernauter March 01, 2014 3:50 am

Surely they can't be ignored forever. A playoff series of two matches (home and away) between the last placed of the Six Nations and the winner of the European Cup seems like the most smart option. After all, should Georgia or Russia or Romania beat either Scotland or Italy (who have shared that 6th spot recentley), it'd seem just fair to give them a shot against the big boys.

Imagine England or France visiting Tbilisi or Moscow or Bucarest on a regular basis, the interest that would spark in Tier two european rugby.

If the IRB are serious about growing rugby, this is a must. They are all too comfortable watching the status quo remain unchanged. And if they don't want the 2019 World Cup to be broadcasted with thousands of empty seats on the stadiums, they should start giving Japan a hand as well.

Cheers

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07015678 March 01, 2014 8:01 am

Have to disagree Juggernauter. I see your point that they deserve better opportunities, but the thought of having a two tier promo and relegation system in the 6 nations is against everything the tournament has traditionally stood for. For example, the Scots have played a key role in its formation for over a century and it would spell the end of professional rugby in Scotland if they suddenly had to battle it out with teams like that. One of the most endearing features of the 6N is that each nation stands tall year after year, consistently having a crack at each other in 6 of the finest European cities.

My suggestion would be to set up another tournament and brand it completely me differently to the 6N, then back it with as much IRB led commercial support as possible. These kind of suggesstions are actually very disrespectful to struggling home nation supporters, currently Scotland more than any others.

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DrG March 01, 2014 10:34 am

Agreed, I think I've mentioned that to Juggernauter before.

Italy has just joined (relatively speaking) and to now ask them or Scotland to leave because they aren't 'good enough' is massively disrespectful.

I think either as you said, create an entirely new tournament, or do as Fatprop suggests, and include them in the autumn and summer internationals.

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Pipo March 01, 2014 3:16 pm

"everything the tournament has traditionally stood for"

"massively disrespectful [to ask the last placed team to be relegated]"

Sure guys, keep that mentality, just like the IRB. Rugby will NEVER grow that way. And what I find disrespectful is for the IRB to do nothing about growing rugby countries while making us watch the same old matches every year. There's a whole world out there; took so long for the Pumas to be recognised... I'm just getting really mad now... Rant over.

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07015678 March 01, 2014 8:00 pm

Pipe down Pipo,
Yes there is a whole world out there of some really admirable rugby nations, which is why we have the WORLD cup. Rugby Union is clearly growing across the globe nicely, but just because an Eastern European nation like Georgia is having crowds of over 50,000 spectators turning up to support their national team, doesn't mean we should completely restructure what is arguably the best annual international rugby competition. So your saying the global rugby community would rather see Georgia Vs England, than France Vs England on the opening weekend? Because France finished at the foot of the 2013 table....

Have a think and get back to me please.

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DrG March 01, 2014 10:14 pm

Agree with 07... even if you don't feel it's the 'arguably best international rugby competition' it is indeed one of the oldest - if not the oldest (at least it's foundations anyway).

Not to mention the fact you actually took the massively disrespectful part out of context. Scotland - one of the continuous underdogs of recent years were part of the foundation of the 6N to ask them to leave is disrespectful and would be a detriment to their rugby. So you're suggesting we sacrifice one nations rugby to help develop another?

I suggest you read up on the history of the 6N - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Nations_Championship

Imagine if your nation had been competing in a particular tournament since it's conception (we're talking over 130 years here aren't we?) then some 'foreigner' decides it would be a good idea to remove your team, because it came last, and introduce their team instead. Not sure it would go down well...

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Pipo March 02, 2014 1:02 am

I understand Scotland teams are part of what the 6 Nations is. Without Scotland (ar any of the current teams) you could hardly calll it the 6 Nations, but that is exactly what I meant: change happens guys. If the 6 Nations as we know it has to stop existing so that rugby can grow, count me in.

The Tri Nations was also a very "old" competition, with a lot of "history" or whatever you want to call it. The inclusion of Argentina changed all that. Can anyone dare say this was a bad move?

...but yeah, sorry for the rant guys... I know that the way rugby is right now, leaving a home nation out of its traditional yearly competition could, like someone above said, "spell the end of professional rugby" there and that's obviously not good for rugby, not even if another team would get to grow for that.

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finedisregard March 02, 2014 1:39 am

Tri Nations just started in 1996.

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07015678 March 02, 2014 5:42 am

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/six-nations-worth-52m-to-scottish-economy-every-year.1391774822

Pipo,
Did you know that the first ever rugby international was played between Scotland and England in Edinburgh in 1871? That's 47 years before Georgia declared independence from Russia (pre Soviet era). Just to put that "history" into context for you.

Here's an idea: TERNARY CUP (or what every you'd want to call it). A three way international competition played every year between Romania, Georgia and Russia. The 6 Nations does not need to end for international rugby to flourish elsewhere.

I must say, using the example of Argentina's joining the tri nations is really naive. They allowed one nation to join three, not the creation of a new relegation/promotion two tiered group league. Also, Argentina was producing considerably more world class players than the likes of Georgia, Romania or Russia combined.

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dave March 03, 2014 12:22 am

well the original comment was that the challenger to the bottom placed 6 nations team would have to beat them in a home and away series in order to qualify... sounds fair enough....do you really think scotland would lose to georgia home and away? and even if they did lose Scotland could be right back up there again, they would sweep the lesser competition and get their confidence up a bit...get their act together.
In the event of a draw the challenger has to beat the bottom placed six nations side on points difference otherwise the competitions stay as they are.

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DrG March 03, 2014 3:30 am

But the problem is Dave you'd be changing the whole competition and ruling out the likes of Italy or Scotland (most of the time, based on recent years) and maybe they would lose, then next year it would be the 5 nations and Georgia.. with the Scottish fans not getting on a plane heading off to Russia, Scottish rugby would suffer.

The only 'fair' way to do it would be to swap Italy every year for one of the other teams, Georgia, Russia etc..last in, first out? and that sounds horribly UNFAIR to me! To ask one of the founders of the competition to sod off is wrong - Argentina joined the Tri Nations, there wasn't call for the loser of the Tri nations to swap or compete to stay in the competition.

Only REAL fair way to do it, is for them to create their own competition AND add them into the Autumn and Summer Internationals...

To Pipo - As others have said Argentina have been producing great rugby players for a while now, many have come to light playing for Italy, playing in the French domestic clubs etc. I don't know of (m)any Georgian players in top tier French rugby - Not that I follow it that closely.

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07015678 March 03, 2014 11:03 am

Gorgodze is class and would find a place in any of the current six nations squads, if not starting XV. I can't remember the other players names but there are definitely a few kicking about.

Dave,
There is SO MUCH to lose for the six nations under this kind of system and the tournament dynamic would spoil everything. The tourism sector in Dublin, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Paris or Rome would take a hit depending on the relegated team. Romania was rejected entry to the 6N in the 90's for the same reason as Georgia would now. Too few Western European tourists want to go to Tbilisi or Bucharest + they just don't deserve to enter the competition to the inevitable peril of one of the current teams.

If the 6 Nations is changed to the format your suggesting in my lifetime, I will eat my shoes.

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DrG March 03, 2014 6:18 pm

Totally agree 07..

If it changes in my lifetime you can eat my shoes too!

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CambridgeshireKid March 02, 2014 12:07 pm

Could I just correct you. They play in 5 of the finest cities and Cardiff

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Rugby13 March 04, 2014 2:27 pm

Bette option would be to have a European championship every 4 years. 8 teams, 2 pools of 4. Same amount of games 5, where places 1-8 will be played for.

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FatProp March 01, 2014 10:09 am

I wouldn't be against having Georgia in the 6 nations but an even easier thing to do is just give them summer and autumn internationals. I really liked the quad cup thing with south Africa Scotland and all that. I mean this summer have one with the SH side that doesn't have a tourist and Georgia Fiji teams like that who don't get to play the big side at all, it would help teams like Georgia get an even better following in their country because teams like Australia and new Zealand will actually get people interested rather than playing teams like Romania and Spain.

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MisterDavid March 01, 2014 1:09 pm

How can any rugby fan not adore Georgian rugby?! Their passion for the game is magnificent.

And the Russian hooker's mullet is a beaut too.

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Guest March 03, 2014 1:22 pm

I agree with some of the above - the way forward is to include these sides in the Autumn internationals. For the development of the game the IRB needs to ensure the nations from outside the 6N and RC regularly get a chance to play these teams.

I would rather see England play Georgia once every couple of years than watch them play NZ four times a season. The Haka wears thin after a while....

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s_conner March 05, 2014 1:30 pm

As much as I love the 6N and the ritualistic annual renewal of rivalries, I'm still interested in seeing other international teams play more regularly. The like of Georgia, Russia and Romania should get a game against one of the 6N sides each year so they can improve. This can only benefit rugby.

I don't think it's disrespectful to suggest that a lower placed team should have to prove itself against the cream of the crop in the second tier of Europe, though I don't think this should be done in a 6N relegation context. Adding these nations to the Summer/Autumn schedule is important, and perhaps even hosting a European Cup every 4 years could work too.

One of the reasons I love watching the IRB 7s world series is the increase in international teams that compete at a decent level (e.g. Kenya and even a team like Portugal). The deeper the pool of possible fixtures, the more interesting international rugby becomes.

Teams need to work in tour fixtures against other opposition too (e.g. England playing the ConCaf XV in the Summer)

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DrG March 05, 2014 4:47 pm

'I don't think it's disrespectful to suggest that a lower placed team should have to prove itself against the cream of the crop in the second tier of Europe, though I don't think this should be done in a 6N relegation context.'

When I mentioned the word 'disrespectful', I was not referring to the fact that the lowest place team should play a second tier team, I don't see what is wrong with that personally, I think it is a good idea. However I think it would be disrespectful for any of the current 6N teams to be removed in a relegation format - more so for the 'home nations' - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, but also for France or Italy.

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Stephem March 05, 2014 1:53 pm

I think an nice way to start would be to get rid of one of the rest weekends and have a warm-up weekend where each 6 nations team plays an enc team, with the teams with 2 home games that year at home. Space out all 6 games for broadcasters heineken cup style.

An upset or two could convince 6N fans to watch the ENC, especially if the biggest match of the weekend is scheduled before the Sunday 6 nations game. The 6N will get extra revenue and a chance to try out new combinations. And it will build more momentum, I can't remember what year it was, but Ireland being at home to Italy in the middle week meant it was basically 4 weeks between intense games

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DrG March 05, 2014 4:40 pm

..made me chuckle, I'm not sure using up one of the rest weekends and creating a warm up weekend would be the best idea - I've seen a few Georgian rugby fights and the last thing any of the 6N teams need is another 'BOD incident' happening to any of their players: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLoExeByUiE

Referring to the Ireland v Bayonne game..

View Video

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dimapapa March 16, 2014 9:56 am

on part of neanderthals, have to make the comment, when as said neanderthals Georgians were playing rugby i am prety sure your region was still ingaged in hanibalism and was inspiration for the charles darwin theory

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lelo_Burti

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