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Preview: Scotland v Georgia

Preview: Scotland v Georgia

Preview: Scotland v Georgia

2023 Summer Nations Series, Stade Geoffrey Guichard, Saint-Etienne, France 12/8/2023 France vs Scotland Scotland's Huw Jones and Jonathan Danty of France Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Scotland have cemented their place as World Cup dark horses during the 2023 Summer Nations Series, and they now have a chance to end August on a high against Georgia. 

Gregor Townsend’s side dispatched Italy in their opening game of the summer before showing they have what it takes to beat the best in a 25-21 triumph over France. 

They came within four points of back-to-back wins over the World Cup hosts a week later, and will now face a tough test against a high-flying Georgia side. 

Levan Maisashvili’s team beat Romania 56-6 earlier this month before registering an impressive 22-7 win against the USA.

So, with both sides looking strong with a little over two weeks to go until the start of the World Cup, let’s take a closer look at the teams. 

Team News

Ben White has recovered from an ankle injury in time to start at scrum-half against Georgia. 

Townsend has named a strong starting XV, with Finn Russell starting at ten and Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones selected in the centres. 

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Jamie Ritchie captains the side from blindside flanker, while Ben Healy looks set to win his third cap from the bench. 

Shalva Mamukashvili will become just the sixth player to make 100 appearances for Georgia at Scottish Gas Murrayfield.

Mamukashvili, who made his Georgia debut in 2011, is joined by Misha Nariashvili and Beka Gigashvili in the front row. 

Nariashvili is one of three changes to the forward pack from the 22-7 win over USA in Tbilisi, with Lado Chachanidze coming into the second row alongside Konstantine Mikautadze.

The final change in the forwards sees Mikheil Gachechiladze named at openside flanker alongside Luka Ivanishvili and Tornike Jalagonia.

There are two changes in the backs, with Demur Tapladze selected in the centres and Miriani Modebadze starting set to start on the wing. 

Ones to Watch

It is now or never for Ollie Smith as he battles with the more experienced Blair Kinghorn for Scotland’s 15 jersey. 

The prodigious full-back played 80 minutes against Italy and came off the bench for a 17-minute cameo in the defeat against Les Bleus – making a crucial try-saving tackle late in the game. 

However, with Townsend still on the hunt for a permanent replacement for retired Scotland icon Stuart Hogg, this will be Smith’s last chance to prove he deserves to start in the World Cup opener against defending champions South Africa. 

Speaking of prodigious full-backs, Davit Niniashvili looks set to once again be Georgia’s biggest attacking threat this weekend.

The 21-year-old scored in the victory over the USA in Georgia’s last match and will be crucial to neutralising a strong Scotland back line. 

@autumnnationsseries What a hit 😱 @Scottish Rugby #SixNationsRugby #SummerNationsSeries #FRASCO ♬ After Hours – Xadi

Stat Attack

 ● Scotland have won each of their previous five Test matches against Georgia, including their most recent by a margin of 41 points (48-7 in October 2020), which was their biggest-ever win against the Lelos. 

● Scotland have won three of their last four Test matches (L1) and have scored 3+ tries in eight of their last nine outings, however, they have also conceded three tries in each of their last two after conceding just one in each of their previous two. 

● Scotland have won five of their last six Test matches on home soil (L1) including each of their last three – each of Scotland’s last two home wins have come despite trailing their opponents at half-time, including a comeback from 18 points down in their most recent home game (25-21 v France)


Scotland: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben White, 1 Jamie Bhatti, 2 Dave Cherry, 3 WP Nel, 4 Sam Skinner, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Jamie Ritchie (C), 7 Rory Darge, 8 Jack Dempsey

Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Chris Harris

Georgia: 15 Davit Niniashvili, 14 Aka Tabutsadze, 13 Demur Tapladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (C), 11 Miriani Modebadze, 10 Luka Matkava, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 1 Misha Nariashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 4 Lado Chachanidze, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 6 Luka Ivanishvili, 7 Mikheil Gachechiladze, 8 Tornike Jalaghonia

Replacements: 16 Tengiz Zamtaradze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Guram Papidze, 19 Lasha Jaiani, 20 Sandro Mamamtavrishvili, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Tedo Abzhandadze, 23 Giorgi Kveseladze 

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