Georgia

Kiwi coaches seeking their fortunes abroad

Even Sir Graham and Hansen themselves were forced to take a pathway through Wales en route to the top NZ role.

If you're in doubt about which teams to support at the Rugby World Cup when New Zealand aren't playing, this list of Kiwi-coached sides may swing your allegiance.

Joe Schmidt (Ireland)

International teams coached: Ireland (2013-present)

International record: 50-18-1 (72.5 percent)

Tournament titles: Three (Six Nations 2014, 2015, 2018)

Georgia Rugby pleads for a spot in expansion plans

Among them, Georgia.

With a billionaire backer and a Kiwi coach, European rugby's potential sleeping giants want to make their mark.

The powerhouse Georgian pack recently helped England prepare for their Six Nations opener against Ireland, but they hope that's not the closest they get to competing in European rugby's premier international competition.

Georgia want to play against the game's heavyweights and winning the 'most improved' award is no longer an option, according to coach Milton Haig.

Two debutants to start for Tonga vs Georgia

The Bay of Plenty loose forward and Taranaki utility back came off the bench against the French Barbarians two weeks ago but will start for the 'Ikale Tahi in Tbilisi, in place of Sione Vailanu, who drops to the reserves and captain Siale Piutau, who has returned to his club side Bristol.

In the only other change to the starting fifteen thumped 74-24 by Wales, Sefo Sakalia replaces Paula Ngauamo at hooker.

Hooker Sione Anga'aelangi is set to make his first test appearance since 2016 off the bench.

'Ikale Tahi lament costly mistakes in Cardiff

The Kingdom fought back from three tries down to level the scores just after half-time in Cardiff before conceding 50 unanswered points to lose 74-24.

Flanker Dan Faleafa said there were good and bad things about their performance.

"We showed some good attitude after having a yellow card and being down almost 20 points we showed some good resilience to get back and get back up to 24-all after half-time," he said.

Georgia beat Tonga

Georgia won 16-15.

Georgia scored a converted try and three penalties against Tonga’s two tries (one converted) and a penalty.

 

Photo Twitter/ Oceania Rugby 

     

Three debutants to start for 'Ikale Tahi

Tighthead prop David Lolohea, number eight Nasi Manu and fullback Sione Fifita will make their test debut against the Lelos in Suva.

Another new face, Viliami Lolohea, is poised to earn his first cap off the bench.

Veteran first five Kurt Morath will make his first appearance for the 'Ikale Tahi since the 2015 World Cup, while Racing 92 prop Ben Tameifuna has been included on the bench after being called into the squad as an injury replacement for Sione Lea.

Captain Siale Piutau said the new faces have added plenty to the team.

Tonga target Georgia

Tongan manager Inoke Afeaki said that this is one of their aims as they prepare for next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“This is one of our campaigns and that is to beat Georgia as we build-up for the World Cup next year,” Afeaki told SUNsports.

“We’ve set our goals despite the fact that we are still grooming our team to be competitive against the top teams.

“We had a good preparation we started with the management group where we held a workshop in Auckland for four days.

I-85 fire: Section of Atlanta highway collapses

All five lanes of the highway in each direction were blocked and will be closed for the foreseeable future, officials said.

Pope preaches in half-empty stadium

Orthodox believers were asked not to take part in Roman Catholic services and a Church delegation due to attend also stayed away.

But Church officials said the decision had been taken by mutual agreement.

It was one of the smallest crowds seen at an outdoor papal Mass during Francis's foreign trips.

People who did attend in the capital Tbilisi said afterwards that the papal visit was good for Georgia.

"This is a very significant event, both for the country and for faithful from the whole Catholic parish," Keti Khitarikhvili told Reuters news agency.

Talakhadze takes gold with world-record lift

Lasha Talakhadze set a new world record for total combined weight lifted in the men's over 105kg competition to claim gold at Rio 2016.

The 22-year-old Georgian, gold medallist in the same category at the World Weightlifting Championships in 2015, secured victory by a comfortable margin with a combined total lift of 473kg.