Oggi è il 19/05/2019 | 25853 articoli online

Italy Plays Georgia in Rugby Union 2018

Italy and Georgia’s rugby union sides have never met in a World Cup match; they have consistently started the four-yearly tournament in separate pools, and neither team has ever made it out of the group stages. In the 2019 Rugby World Cup, to be held in Japan, they are again in separate groups, so unless they can both make it to the knockout rounds, it’s unlikely they will face off there, either.

In fact, since Georgia developed their own independent rugby union federation in the 1990s, the two sides have met in only one Test match. That was in Asti, on 3 September 2003, when the home team ran in four tries against the visitors’ one and finished with a 31-22 victory.


In recent years, however, Georgian rugby has improved in leaps and bounds. They have won the European Nations Cup six times in a row, and remain the defending champions, currently ranked 12th by World Rugby. The team has become as popular as peanut butter and jelly in America, or Canadian mobile casinos in the country that loves Maple syrup, and they look set for great things.


Italy, on the other hand, has never finished higher than fourth in the Six Nations tournament, and has in fact claimed the wooden spoon in 12 of the 18 Six Nations to date. In the past two editions of the competition, Italy were whitewashed, so it’s no wonder that the team is now ranked 15th by World Rugby.


So rugby union fans and online sports betting enthusiasts in both Italy and Georgia will be sitting up and taking notice, following the recent announcement in Los Angeles that World Rugby has approved an autumn international in 2018 between the two teams. Both sides will go into the Test with a lot to prove.


Time to Discuss Reshuffling Europe’s Rugby Tiers?


Given that Italy has been unable to improve their Six Nations performance over almost two decades, the match might also be the stimulus that European rugby needs to spark an urgent debate about its tier structure.


On their performance over the past six years, Georgia have to be considered Six Nations-worthy, but tournament CEO John Feehan has resolutely refused to contemplate any expansion. Even a ‘show match’ between the Six Nations wooden-spooners and the European Nations champions this year was rejected, no doubt because of the uncomfortable questions it would have raised.


Yet it was the England Rugby Union that wanted the Six Nations cut down from seven weeks to six earlier this year, a proposal defeated by the other five unions. It’s clear that club and multiple international commitments are leaving players overworked, so it might be time to rearrange the top tiers.


One solution could be to revert to a Five Nations tournament between France and the four UK unions, and have Italy head up a new second-tier competition that includes Georgia and other developing rugby union powerhouses like Russia and Romania. The switch of a number of South African club teams from Super Rugby to an expanded Pro14 seems to be working, so this might be a move to consider at international level.




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