The rugby world’s eyes have been understandably transfixed on New Zealand in recent weeks, but other nations also deserve their due.
While the collective nations of the British Isles salivated at Seán O’Brien’s sensational score at Eden Park, heroics were also orchestrated elsewhere. Georgia have been making a very strong case for inclusion in the Six Nations due to their stellar performances in recent years. Between 2011 and 2016 they won the ‘European Nations Cup’ every single year and have become accustomed to giving Tier 1 nations a scare in the World Cup. The 14-10 win Ireland laboured to in 2007 is one such instance.
Much of this success has been built on an outstandingly brutish pack, which boasts Davit Zirakashvili, arguably the best tight-head prop in the world, among its ranks. Recent form, however, suggests that they have been steadily adding additional strings to their bow.
This June has been particularly fruitful for the Georgians. Victories over both Canada and the USA laid the ground for what was an encouraging performance against Argentina, ultimately going down 45-29. Even allowing for conceding such a large score, to notch up 29 points against a Tier 1 nation is something to be proud of, especially given the manner in which they did it.
Much like the Lions in Auckland, Georgia were in desperate need of a score approaching half-time and then, seemingly from the ends of the Earth, conjured something majestic. Words can hardly do the score justice, however, so you best take a look for yourself:
— Tier 2 Rugby (@T2Rugby) June 25, 2017
Needless to say, should they gain entry to the Six (Seven?) Nations, Georgia will pose problems for Europe’s elite far beyond scrum and ruck time.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena