Match Preview: Scotland vs Georgia

Rugby Park, Invercargill, Wednesday 14th Sep 7:30pm (NZT)
Head-to-head: First meeting

Team news: Scotland have made a host of changes from their less than impressive win against Romania. Coach Andy Robinson has bought in eleven players that did not start in the 34-24 victory, and has also moved Sean Lamont to the wing and Kelly Brown to the back of the scrum. Georgia have named their strongest available line-up for their first match of the tournament. With Scotland coming off a four day turnaround, they will look to use their powerful forward pack to hammer away at the Scottish line.

Form: Scotland were in deep trouble against Romania until they scored two late tries through Simon Danielli to win the match. The performance did nothing to silence the doubters, and more performances like that will see them fail to make the knock-out stages of the World Cup for the first time. Georgia are in good form after finishing the IRB Nations Cup with two wins from three games. This is on the back of their unbeaten start to the 2011-12 European Nations Cup. Georgia really are a team on the rise, the country is getting behind the team and a win here will boost their supporting numbers even more.

Prediction: In every match so far the unfancied teams have pushed the big boys close, but failed to convert that into a win. It all starts with a well structured defence and not giving away silly penalties. If Georgia can play a smart game we could see the first upset of the tournament here. But the Scot’s have a game under their belt so this wont be easy. With that in mind, Scotland should sneak home.
Scotland by 9

Scotland: 15.Rory Lamont, 14.Max Evans, 13.Nick De Luca, 12.Grame Morrison, 11.Sean Lamont, 10.Dan Parks, 9.Rory Lawson (capt), 8.Kelly Brown, 7.Ross Rennie, 6.Ally Strokosch, Jim Hamilton, 4.Nathan Hines, 3.Euan Murray, 2.Scott Lawson, 1.Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16.Ross Ford, 17.Geoff Cross, 18.Alasdair Dickinson, 19.Richie Gray, 20.Richie Vernon, 21.Chris Cusiter, 22.Chris Paterson.

Georgia: 15.Revaz Gigauri, 14.Irakli Machkhaneli, 13.David Kacharava, 12.Tedo Zibzibadze, 11.Alexander Todua, 10.Merab Kvirikashvili, 9.Iraki Abuseridze (capt), 8.Dimitri Basilaia, 7.Mamuka Gorgodze, 6.Shalva Sutiashvili, 5.Vakhtang Maisurdze, 4.Levan Datunashvili, 3.David Zirakashvili, 2.Jaba Bregvadze, 1.David Khinchagishvili.
Replacements: 16.Akvsenti Giogadze, 17.David Kubriashvili, 18.Giorgi Chkhaidze, 19.Viktor Kolelishvili, 20.Bidzina Samkharadze, 21.Lasha Khmaladze, 22.Malkhaz Urjukashvili.

By Alex Barlow-Smith