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Georgia under Cockerill


Bench Player
Dec 30, 2011
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Club or Nation
Cockerill annonced as the new Georgia head coach while Georgia is, despite a very poor RWC, stronger than ever :
- 2 six nations scalp in 2022
- U20 finished in the WC top 8
- Their franchise Black Lion won SuperCup 3 times in a row and is now involved in Challenge Cup and won over Scarlets

The pool of player is bigger than ever and now 100% professional with the weakest positions covered by Black Lion players and/or former U20 that shined in the previous U20WC

A lot of young players, involved in the last RWC, will be at their prime in 2027, including Niniashvili or Matkava
The pool of players to prepare for the RWC, starting with the forwards

Loosehead prop
The frontrow is going to be strong as usual but Georgia did not even had a forward coachs past years then both scrum and lineout declined. At loosehead prop Sergo Abramishvili is going to be immense. He is only 20 but already etablished as one of the top player in France with 6 starts for Stade Français this season. Nika Abuladze (28 yo) is a standout scrummager with Exeter Chiefs with 7 Premiership and 2 Champions Cup games this season. Another player to watch is the dynamic Giorgi Gogichashili (25 yo, Racing 92).
Notable mentions : Lekso Kaulashvili (31, Bordeaux), Giorgi Tetrashvili (30, Perpignan), Davit Abdushelishvili (22, Black Lion)

The youngest RWC19 player Vano Karkadze is a huge prospect. Currently 23 y/o, he played every Top14 and Champions Cup for Montpellier this season. Originally not the 2023 RWC squad for some unknown reason, he was finally called up as an injury cover for the last game and scored a try. Luka Nioradze (24) is another young prospect as he perform well in ProD2 with Aurillac. His teammate Beso Khonelidze made his ProD2 this Season debut at only 20. Earlier this year, he played a huge U20 WC, scoring 5 tries including a double against NZ.
Notable mentions : Tengiz Zamtaradze (25, Black Lion), Badri Alkhazashvili (28, Montauban ProD2)

Tighthead prop
Beka Gigashvili (Toulon) will be at the end of his career in 2027 as he is already 31, but is currently one of the top tighthead in the World. Fortunately there are plenty of young props in the mix. Irakli Aptsiauri destroyed himself every U20 scrum he faced. He is currently staring for Grenoble in ProD2 but will join Lyon from the next season on a 4 years deal. Aleksandre Kuntelia made his name destroying the welsh scrum last year that lead to the penalty victory. He is only 21 but already played 7 Top14 games this season with La Rochelle.
Notable mentions : Guram Papidze (26, Pau), Giorgi Melikidze (27, Stade Français), Luka Japaridze (25, Montpellier), Gia Kharaishvili (24, Racing92)
Not sure if he will be fit for the next RWC, but Konstantin Mikautadze (32 yo) is an etablished lock in Top14, that played for Toulon, Montpellier and now Bayonne. Lado Chachanidze (23) and Lasha Jaiani (25) are both playing for Nevers in ProD2. Jaiani spent few years in England, with Exeter Uni. Former US Air Force soldier Grigor Kerdikoshvili (29) got noticed playing for Glendale Raptors in MLR. He then moved to France with Agen before signing for Black Lion.
Notable mentions : Mikheil Babunashvili (27), Demur Epremidze (27, both Black Lion), Giorgi Javakhia (27, Grenoble ProD2)


Beka Saghinadze (25) is a top class player, essental part of the team in both club (Lyon) and national team, regulary named among the team of the week. A pure strengh in both attack and defence. Beka Shvangiradze (21, Aurillac) is an absolute beast, some Top14 staff showed an interest including Toulon. He have to control himself though (already 2 yellow cards in ProD2 since the start of the Season). Luka Ivanishvili (22, Black Lion) had everything to be a star player soon. Big ball carrier, able to win a lot of turnovers... He scored a try in RWC against Australia and was immense in last two Black Lion games, the win v Scarlets and the SuperCup final won against Tel Aviv Heat.
Notable mentions : Giorgi Tsutskiridze (27, Stade Français), Sandro Mamamtavrishvili (25, Black Lion), Rati Zazadze (20, Nevers U22)
Surely one of the first name put on a XV, Beka Gorgadze (27) is a World Class player. He is captaining Pau in Top14 and IS a leader that every team would dream. Was named last summer among the 30 best Top14 players of the Season. Tornike Jalaghonia (25) is a talented and skillfull backrower. Well etablished in Biarritz lineup, he stayed with the club despite the relegation. Signed to Black Lion from the russian championship, 26-years old Ilia Spanderashvili impressed a lot in his first season in Super Cup. Unfortunately injured for the first two Challenge Cup games. He scored a solo 70m try in Super Cup semi final

Notable mentions : Otar Giorgadze (27, Montauban ProD2), Ioane Iashagashvili (23, Valence Romans ProD2)
The backs are historically very pour, but trend to be better every year and now close to match the level of their forwards even if the depth is limited. Let's start with halfbacks

Some people remember when Vasil Lobzhanidze made the 2019 RWC squad at 18, becoming the youngest player ever to play a RWC. Now aged 27, he played more than 100 games for Brive, and still n°1 with Georgia. The club was relagated from Top14 last summer but Vasil was signed by Toulon as an injury cover. Gela Aprasidze (25) is a talented and skillfull player, also able to kick penalties from his own half, like he did twice in Top14 semi final with Montpellier, sending them in final. Now moved to Bayonne. Aldo 25, Black Lion scrumhalf Tengiz Peranidze played a big role in both Challenge Cup games.
Notable mention : Mikheil Alania (23, Aurillac ProD2)

Luka Matkava (22) is the new georgian superstar. Not only because he kicked the winning penalty against Wales but because of hus incredible footsteps, the quality of his pass and his ability to break the defensive line. Scored an individual try in the first Challenge Cup game v Gloucester and was named MOTM v Scarlets the following week.

He was the starting flyhalf until Matkava shine, Tedo Abzhandadze was (and still) a big prospect. Currently aged only 24, he was the very first flyhalf to play Top14 for Brive before signing for Montauban in ProD2 his kick in open play is just quality. Matkava being the only #10 with Black Lion there are only 2 professionnal flyhalves in the mix. U20 flyhalf Petre Khutsishvili joined Aurillac U22 and can target a pro carreer while his teammate at Aurillac Dachi Papunashvili (22) is an utility black that can cover the position.
The backline now :

Merab Sharikadze (30) is captaining both Georgia and Black Lion. Previously played for Hartpury College before heading to ProD2 playing six seasons. A excellent tackler and a true leader.

Giorgi Kveseladze is known for his incredible 50m individual try against Ireland but is also an excellent ball carrier and can cover a huge zone in defence. The 26 years old centre played 28 games in 2.5 seasons for Gloucester before joining Black Lion last summer. Another Black Lion with huge potential is Tornike Kakhoidze. Showed pure class in last U20 WC with incredible carries he then played RWC, being the youngest 2023RWC player. Also started the Challenge Cup game won v Scarlets and still only 20.
His teammate in last U20 WC Georges Shvelidze is the son of former international prop Goderzi Shvelidze. He still awaits for a national team call up but already made his professional debuts with Brive in ProD2 and already played five games for them.
Notable mentions : Demur Tapladze (23, Black Lion), Vladi Ashvetia (18, Racing 92)

Black Three
One superstar. Already one of the best player in the World. Multiple times named among the best Top14 players, Davit Niniashvili (21, Lyon) has everything to be the best georgian player ever. Pace, footsteps, kicks, highball, tackles, quality of pass. Just watch some highlights

Akaki Tabutsadze (26, Black Lion) is already the georgian top try scorer in the history, outpassing the legend Mamuka Gorgodze. Not very skillfull but he has pace and power. 19-years old Luka Tsirekidze is a superfast and skillfull player. A great prospect, already in the starting Black Lion team and showed some crazy skills with U20 m, especially v England

Dachi Papunashvili (22, Aurillac) is still young but counts already 6 starts for Aurillac this season. A versatile player, able to cover wing/fullback sometimes centre and even flyhalf
Notable mentions : Otar Lashkhi (23, Black Lion), Giorgi Jobava (22, Black Lion), Luka Khorbaladze (19, Lyon U22)
First game under Cockerill tomorrow against Germany . Many players unavailable + a bunch of new players against a lower opponent


U20 props Aptsiauri and Mamaiashvili are called up alongside uncapped Akhaladze and Kartvelishvili. All comes from ProD2

Good to see Karkadze back in the starting XV for the first time for a while.
Javakhia and Spanderashvili both called for the first time since 2021.

100th cap for captain Sharikadze
Tsirekidze, Khuroshvili and Kakhoidze all U20

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