Preview: Tonga v Georgia (18th June 2016)


Georgia continue their tour of the Pacific Islands with a clash against Tonga at the ANZ National Stadium in Suva on Saturday.

The team from Eastern Europe are well prepared for this clash after playing out an exciting 19-19 draw against Samoa at Apia Park last weekend.

Tonga on the other hand will want to get back to winning ways after going down 23-18 to Fiji in their opening clash of the Pacific Nations Cup last Saturday.

Georgia will finish off their tour with a clash against Fiji in Suva next weekend and they will be looking to go into that game unbeaten and full of confidence if they are able to come away with a victory against Tonga.

Flanker Shalva Sutiashvili will lead Georgia into battle in this encounter. He will be supported in the back row by Giorgi Tkhilaishvili and number eight Beka Bitsadze. Lasha Khmaladze will start at fly-half while Giorgi Begadze will combine with him at scrum-half.

Full-back Merab Kvirikashvili has a good boot on him and he is also an evasive runner who is able to beat his tackler on the outside. If Georgia are able to secure quick ball at the breakdown it will present Kvirikashvili with the opportunity to do damage off first phase ball.

For Tonga, veteran flanker Nili Latu will captain the team for the clash with Georgia on Saturday. Latiume Fosita and Apakuki Ma’afu will form the centre combination while Tevita Halaifonua will start at full-back.

Georgia are curently ranked 12th in while Tonga are in 13th position on the World Rugby Rankings.

Games between these two teams are usually close affairs with the record currently standing at two wins apiece from four previous meetings. The last time these two teams played each other, Georgia came away with the points after a hard fought 17-10 triumph at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

The largest winning margin between these two sides is seven points and if history is anything to go by, along with both teams’ current form, this could go either way. Given Tonga’s physicality at the breakdown and general Sevens flair they might however have enough to edge their opponents.

Previous results:
2015: Georgia won 17-10 in Gloucester
2014: Tonga won 23-9 in Tbilisi
1999: Georgia won 28-27 in Tbilisi
1999: Tonga won 37-6 in Nuku Alofa

POSSIBLE RR World Rankings outcome on Result

tonga1georgia1Tonga (on 67.36 points) at home -vs- Georgia (on 70.12 points)
Possible Outcome Rating Point New TON New GEO Will TON
Exchange Rating Rating overtake GEO?
If TON win by 1-15 points 0.976 68.34 69.14 No
If TON win by more than 15 1.464 68.82 68.66 Yes
If result is a draw 0.024 67.34 70.14 No
If GEO win by 1-15 points 1.024 66.34 71.14 No
If GEO win by more than 15 1.536 65.82 71.66 No

The teams:

Georgia: 15 Merab Kvirikashvili, 14 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Sandro Todua, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Giorgi Begadze, 8 Beka Bitsadze, 7 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 6 Shalva Sutiashvili (c), 5 Giorgi Nemsadze, 4 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Zurab Zhvania
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Karlen Asieshvili, 18 Mirtskhulashvili, 19 Nodar Cheishvili, 20 Lasha Lomidze, 21 Vazha Khutsishvili, 22 Lasha Malaghuradze, 23 Giorgi Pruidze

Tonga: 15 Tevita Halaifonua, 14 Otulea Katoa, 13 Apakuki Ma’afu, 12 Latiume Fosita, 11 Viliame  Iongi, 10 Kali Hala, 9  Tane Takulua, 8 Sione Tau, 7 Jack Ram, 6 Nili Latu (C), 5 Dan Faleafa, 4 Uili Kolo’ofa’I, 3 Sione Faletau, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Eddie Aholelei
Replacements:  16 Sosefo Sakalia, 17 Sione Angaelangi, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Opeti Fonua, 20 Steve  Mafi, 21 Wayne Ngaluafe, 22 Viliami  Hakalo, 23 Daniel Kilioni

Date: Saturday, June 18
Venue: ANZ National Stadium
Kick-off: 16:45 local (04:45 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzère (France), Faa’vae Neru (Samoa)




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