Giorgadze ready for rugby warfare
By Lena Zak
VILLEFRANCHE, 10 September - Some players don't like comparing rugby to war but the Georgia forward Akvsenti Giorgadze doesn't mind.
"Rugby involves contact," said Giorgadze, whose younger brother, Irakli, is also playing in the 2007 IRB Rugby World Cup.
"The history of Georgia is war and rugby is like a modern war. On the field we do battle and rugby suits the Georgian national character."
Georgia have a battle on their hands as they prepare to take on Argentina, who upset tournament hosts France last week, in their opening Pool D encounter in Gerland Stadium, Lyon on Tuesday.
Four days later they meet Ireland in Bordeaux.
Pride and honour playing for Georgia
In a country that has 38 rugby clubs and a pool of 2945 players to draw on, Giorgadze said it was an "amazing" feat for Georgia to qualify for their second world cup after participating in RWC 2003 in Australia.
Wearing the national jersey on the world stage is another badge of honour for the 31-year-old hooker who, like most of his Georgia team-mates, plays professional rugby in France.
It has become even more special for Giorgadze to represent his country since it gained independence from the former Soviet Union in April 1991.
"Rugby always remained popular in Georgia, even under the Soviet Union," Giorgadze remarked.
"Once you're playing for Georgia, it means more. The USSR finished and we started to play as a nation. Now it's been 16 years and we've been to two world cups. It's an amazing result for a small country."
- South Africa
- New Zealand