NAGOYA, 17 Sep - Georgia coach Milton Haig believes his team will have a much tougher time securing two wins at Rugby World Cup 2019 than it did four years ago in England.
New Zealand-born Haig, above, said Georgia were able to capitalise on the element of surprise at RWC 2015 - but no such cover would be afforded in Japan.
"It'll be a lot harder here," he said. "I think we flew under the radar last time. Certainly, after I spoke to the Tongan boys in 2015 after that first match, they really weren't looking at us.
"What we've achieved, automatic qualification, and some of our performances over the last four years, I think we won't be able to fly under the radar this time, so it's going to be harder.
"If we can do well in this tournament, it will help put Georgia on the map again in terms of our rugby."
The biggest surprise in Georgia's RWC 2019 squad was the return of Mamuka Gorgodze, who retired from international rugby in 2017 only to answer the call-up in 2019 following injuries to several players.
At 35 years old, Gorgodze is one of two Georgian players - along with David Kacharava - appearing at their fourth Rugby World Cup in 2019. Both were on the pitch in all four of Georgia's RWC victories to date. His 26 career test tries are the most by any player in history representing Georgia.
One of the most disappointing absentees at #RWC2019 is Giorgi Tsutskiridze, who broke his ankle in first minutes of the first warm up game. He's been a revelation for Georgia this past year with both for his pace in attack, & huge defensive work rate. https://t.co/qaPPPrU9z1— Tier 2 Rugby (@T2Rugby) September 16, 2019
Gorgodze is the second-oldest Georgian player in Japan, behind Shalva Sutiashvili, and was coy about how his body is holding up as they prepare to face Wales.
"We’ll see about that after the first match," he said.