Georgia national rugby union team

The Georgian Rugby Union Team (Georgian საქართველოს მორაგბეთა ეროვნული ნაკრები ) represents Georgia in rugby union. Her nickname " Lelos " comes from a rugby -like sport. Lelo has been adopted by the Georgians as a term for " test ".

Georgia is classified by the World Association, the International Rugby Board (IRB ), in the third strength class ( third tier ), is due to the good performance in the last time the team but already at a higher level. In February 2008, the Georgians managed to climb to 14th place in the IRB world rankings, the highest level in the history of the association. This one is actually on the higher classification Canadians, Romanians, Japanese and Americans.

Georgia participates in the European Nations Cup and won the competition in the 2000 /01 season. 2003 and 2007 succeeded the qualification for the World Cup. In the final staging in France Georgians celebrated their first victory in a World Cup when they won 30:0 against Namibia.


Rugby is one of the most popular sports in Georgia, which is also related to the tradition of Lelos. This game was played many centuries ago between Georgian villages. It brought together two teams, consisting of all strong men of the village, on a river or stream to each other. An oversized, heavy ball acted as a gaming device. The aim of this game was to get the ball to the other side of the water and thus push back the enemy.

Rugby, however, became popular in the 1950s and 1960s, then in 1964 founded the Georgia Rugby Union. However, until the late 1980s, the association remained part of the overall Soviet Union. Consequently, the Georgians also played for the teams of the USSR.

The first international match

In September 1989, Georgia became the first time with its own team in rugby. Along with other nations they traveled to Zimbabwe and played there a series of games against the Africans. The thus first official international match they won 16:3. The second game was lost, the third confrontation with Zimbabwe, however, was denied again victorious.

With the independence of the former Soviet Republic on 9 April 1991, the course for the future of the Georgian rugby were placed. First, however, it was difficult to find suitable opponents. The remaining Soviet States remained as the Commonwealth of Independent States and Georgia remained so only the Ukraine as an opponent until the IRB Georgia in 1992 took up in its ranks.

Establishment in Europe

With the commitment of the French coach Claude Saurel 1997, the quality of Georgia's game rose rapidly. In a short time was able to replace as the most popular team sport of rugby football. Directed by Saurel Georgia narrowly failed to qualify for the World Cup 1999. At the crucial play-off match against Tonga in Nukualofa they lost with 37:6, but won the return match with 28:27 in Tbilisi.

After the third place in the European Nations Cup in season 1999/2000 Georgia succeeded a year later winning this Cup. In the last game against Romania, the Georgians won with 31:20 and remained so to drop a point this season. Meanwhile, some players of the team playing in France and so made ​​the sport more popular. When prestigious clash against Russia 65,000 people died in the National Stadium of Tbilisi.

2002 to today

In October 2002, Russia and Georgia clashed again. This time it was for a place at the World Cup 2003. Than 1.5 million people watched this game live on television and Georgia went with 17:13 win the game. The first World Cup participation was so perfect. The Georgians were drawn in Group C along with England, South Africa, Samoa and Uruguay. In the first game of the tournament against England, it was 6:84 with the highest-ever defeat for Georgia. Against Samoa we also had no chance at 9:46. The team was able to increase, although in the episode, but also lost the final two games against South Africa 19:46 and 12:24 against Uruguay. Thus, it was concluded the tournament from the last to the first round group. Nevertheless, only participation was considered a great success.

On 4 June 2006, the Lelos met in Tbilisi on the Barbarians and narrowly lost with 19:28. In the meantime, they can make the game balanced to stand by 14:14. In this game Paliko Jimscheladse was the first Georgian player to 50 inserts national and was honored after the game. The Barbarians donated in access £ 10,000 for the financially weak Georgian Association.

At the World Cup in 2007 surprised the Georgians. In the opening game against the eventual bronze medalist Argentina, they succeeded zurückzuliegen for half-time with only 3:6. In the following game against Ireland, one of the contenders for the world title, they managed almost the sensation. Although Georgia lost with 10:14, but the Irish were on the verge of defeat. In the last five minutes of the game, the Georgians urged the favored opponents far into their own half, but it was no longer possible for them to come to points. The team has received international recognition for this achievement and made sometimes that even at the upcoming World Cup 20 teams will participate. The leaders of the IRB had previously advocated a reduction to 16 teams due to the relatively large difference in quality between the teams of the individual categories of skills, but the truncation of Georgia showed the contrary. In the third game of the preliminary round Georgia scored the first victory in a World Cup. Namibia was clearly defeated with 30:0. The final game against hosts France lost the Georgian selection, however, with 64:7. Despite the three losses, the performance was a great success for the rugby in Georgia.

2008 Georgia convincingly won the European Nations Cup. This success brought the series Lelos in the IRB world rankings forward. The team overtook Canada and Romania and made it to 14th place

Even the European Nations Cup 2010 Georgia could win and thus qualify directly for the World Cup 2011. With a 25:9 victory over Romania, a fourth place in Group B was reached.


Results at World Championships

  • World Cup 1987: did not participate
  • World Cup 1991: did not participate
  • World Cup 1995: not qualified
  • World Cup 1999: not qualified
  • World Cup 2003: Preliminary Round ( no win )
  • World Cup 2007: Preliminary Round ( a victory )
  • World Cup 2011: Preliminary Round ( a victory )

Known player

  • Dawit Chintschagischwili
  • Akwsenti Giorgadze
  • Paliko Dschimscheladse
  • Merab Kwirikaschvili
  • Goderdsi Schwelidse
  • Levan Zabadse
  • Malchas Urjukaschwili
  • Ilia Zedguinidse
  • Tedo Zibzibadse