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“Playing for our country means everything to us”: Akaki Tabutsadze and Georgia ready for men’s RE Championship

Over the last few years Georgia have been the team for others to try and beat in the men’s Rugby Europe Championship, but not many have managed it.

The Georgians have set the standards at this level and those standards just keep on getting higher and higher as the years go by and rugby in Georgia continues to grow apace.

In the Grand Final of the 2023 RE Championship last March, Georgia won the tournament for an amazing sixth time in a row when they got the better of Portugal 38-11 in Badajoz, Spain. That result laid down a marker from them.

Since then, they have been to Rugby World Cup 2023 in France and shown a wider audience what they can do while experienced Englishman Richard Cockerill has, more recently, taken over as head coach.

Georgian side Black Lion made history by defeating Welsh side Scarlets on the road in the EPCR Challenge Cup and they also won the Super Cup for a third year in a row by seeing off Israel’s Tel-Aviv Heat in the final late last year.

As a result, Georgia has a lot of exciting players to pick from going into this event.

“We are looking forward to the start of the tournament now,” winger Akaki Tabutsadze said before the Championship opener for 2024 away to Germany in Dessau on Sunday.

“It has been a long time since the World Cup and we all miss playing for our country.

“There have been many new things such as changes in the coaching staff and lots of debutants in the squad and everyone is motivated - I think we are ready for new challenges.

“Our goal is, of course, to be the champions again. We will look to defend the title convincingly.

“Playing for our country means everything to us. It is a dream for every Georgian rugby player to wear the national team jersey and we will do everything to make everyone proud of us over the next few weeks. ”

On March 17, the Rugby Europe Championship Finals will be held at the home of Stade Français at the Stade Jean Bouin in Paris.

All eight teams will be involved in a real festival of rugby and Tabutsadze, 26, added:  “It is always interesting to play in a rugby country and France is one of them, so to have the final games there is going to be very exciting.”


Where to Watch : Pro Sieben Maxx (in Germany), Imedi and Rugby TV (Georgia), Movistar (Spain), RugbyEurope.TV (rest of the World)


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