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RWC Pool D Preview – Georgia vs Fiji

TOKYO, 1 Oct – Georgia have made 11 changes for the game against Fiji in Hanazono on Thursday, with Merab Sharikadze, above right, returning as captain to the starting XV for the crucial Pool D encounter.

His steady hand will underpin a more familiar-looking line-up, after coach Milton Haig rotated the squad in the opening defeat to Wales and the win over Uruguay.

Centre Sharikadze is the third player to lead Georgia at Rugby World Cup 2019. Mikheil Nariashvili took the captaincy against Wales, as Sharikadze nursed a knee injury. Jaba Bregvadze led the Lelos against Uruguay, with Sharikadze on the bench.

Georgia are third in Pool D, just one point behind Australia, and will see this as a much-win game.

Young number eight Otari Giorgadze drops to the bench after a huge effort in the rampaging Georgian scrum that Uruguay found so hard to stop.

Georgia will again be hoping for set-piece dominance against a team known for playing a much looser style.

TOKYO, 1 Oct – Fiji coach John McKee has made 11 changes to his team for Fiji’s Pool D match against Georgia on Thursday 3 October.

Only Manasa Saulo, Leone Nakarawa, captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Semi Radradra return following the surprise 30-27 defeat by Uruguay.

McKee has largely reverted to the selection which lost to Australia in the Flying Fijians’ opening match, his line-up containing 13 players who started the 39-21 defeat.

The only changes from that day’s starting XV are prop Manasa Saulo, who comes in for Peni Ravai, and Semi Kunatani, who has recovered from injury to make his Rugby World Cup debut in place of Viliame Mata.

Kunatani starts at openside flanker, with Peceli Yato, above, cleared to return from the head injury suffered against Australia to move from openside to number eight. Before leaving the field 26 minutes into the Wallabies game, Yato had scored a try and made more metres than any Fijian player. Yato will play number eight for only the third time in his 35-cap test career.

Frank Lomani scored two tries and Semi Radradra one when Fiji beat Georgia 37-15 in Suva last year.

Defeats to Australia and Uruguay means Fiji are unlikely to make the knockout stages, but victory over Georgia would put them back into contention for third place in Pool D and automatic qualification for Rugby World Cup 2023.

RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED

GEO (on 73.29 points) -vs- FIJI (on 72.42 points) in a RWC match

Possible Outcome Rating Point
overtake GEO?
If GEO win by 1-15 points 1.826 75.12 70.59 No
If GEO win by more than 15 2.739 76.03 69.68 No
If result is a draw 0.174 73.12 72.59 No
If FIJI win by 1-15 points 2.174 71.12 74.59 Yes
If FIJI win by more than 15 3.261 70.03 75.68 Yes

1 Mikheil Nariashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 6 Giga Tkhilaishvili, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 9 Vaso Lobzhanidze, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 11 Sandro Todua, 12 Merab Sharikadze (capt.), 13 Davit Kacharava, 14 Giorgi Kveseladze, 15 Soso Matiashvili
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Otar Giorgadze, 20 Beka Saghinadze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Lasha Malaguradze, 23 Mirian Modebadze

1 Campese Ma’afu, 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Manasa Saulo, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt.), 7 Semi Kunatani, 8 Peceli Yato, 9 Frank Lomani, 10 Ben Volavola, 11 Semi Radradra, 12 Levani Botia, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 14 Josua Tuisova, 15 Kini Murimurivalu
Replacements: 16 Veremalua Vugakoto, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Peni Ravai, 19 Api Ratuniyarawa, 20 Viliame Mata, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Jale Vatubua, 23 Josh Matavesi

Date: Thursday, October 03
Kick-Off: 14:15 local
Venue: Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistants: Jaco Peyper (South Africa) & Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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