Georgia wary of 'dangerous' Fiji in Nations Cup

London (AFP) –


Georgia coach Levan Maisashvili remains concerned by the threat of a "dangerous" Fiji as his side prepare for their seventh place Autumn Nations Cup play-off against the Pacific islanders.

Saturday's match at Murrayfield will be the first time Fiji have played in the tournament after a coronavirus outbreak within their camp led to the cancellation of all three of their pool games, against France, Italy and Scotland.

But Fiji are renowned for their running rugby and Maisashvili, speaking after announcing his team on Thursday, said: "Fiji obviously is a very tough and dangerous opposition and if we let them control the ball, clearly they are capable of causing us some serious trouble. We will need to confront them with our strength."

Although Georgia have lost all three of their pool matches,last week's 23-10 defeat by Ireland last time out was proof of the progress they have made during the tournament.

Maisashvili has made several changes, with 21-year-old No 8 Tornike Jalagoni replacing the injured Beka Gorgadze.

Kote Mikautadze returns to the second row after recovering from a rib injury, while Otar Giorgadze comes in to partner Beka Saginadze at flanker.

In the backs Sandro Todua replaces Tamaz Mchedlidze on the left wing, with centre Giorgi Kveseladze, fresh from his brilliant solo try against Ireland, lining up in midfield.

"We selected the players who are best prepared for the game at current moment,"explained Maisashvili.

"It is very unfortunate that we will lack such a leader as Beka Gorgadze is. He is a huge force behind the team.

"Young Tornike Jalagonia, who performed exceptionally well against Ireland, will prepare to start instead of him on Saturday. This game will be the perfect opportunity for him to grow."

Georgia (15-1)

Soso Matiashvili; Akaki Tabutsadze, Giorgi Kveseladze, Merab Sharikadze (capt), Sandro Todua; Tedo Abzhandadze, Vasil Lobzhanidze; Tornike Jalaghonia, Beka Saghinadze, Otar Giorgadze; Kote Mikautadze, Lasha Jaiani; Beka Gigashvili, Shalva Mamukashvili, Mikheil Nariashvili

Replacements: Jaba Bregvadze, Guram Gogichashvili, Giorgi Melikidze, Grigol Kerdikoshvili, Mikheil Gachechiladze, Gela Aprasidze, Demur Tapladze, Davit Niniashvili

Coach: Levan Maisashvili (GEO)