Murrayfield will see some international action on Friday as the Scots host Georgia in a warm-up fixture which will allow the former a taste of test rugby before they resume their Six Nations campaign against Wales on the 31st of this month.
It is a young rivalry between these two teams which began on 14 September 2011 at Rugby Park Stadium in Invercargill during the 2011 World Cup. The Georgians gave a valiant account of themselves in that first encounter, not allowing Scotland to cross the try-line once and actually drawing first blood in the game with a penalty in the 18th minute. In the end, however, the Scots triumphed 15-6, keeping the scoreboard ticking over after the Georgians’ various indiscretions.
Five years elapsed before the teams locked horns for the second time – in Scotland’s backyard at Kilmarnock. This time, however, the Scots came out all guns blazing and romped to a 43-16 victory.
In 2019, the Georgians had high hopes of avenging their heavy 2016 defeat in the first of a two-match series in preparation for the 2019 World Cup. It was, however, not to be, as Scotland, playing in Georgia for the first time, dominated proceedings once more with a 44-10 win. While things were competitive during the early exchanges, Scotland opened up after the first quarter and never looked back.
In the return fixture, the teams faced one another again at Murrayfield and Scotland triumphed once more, 36-9.
A glance at the history renders Scotland firm favourites in this one. Overall, the Scots have scored 138 points to Georgia’s 41 and, under the astute guidance of head coach Gregor Townsend, it is not expected that the men in the dark-blue jerseys will falter.
Australian-born new kid on the block, Nick Haining, debuted this year for Scotland. The workhorse number 8 is in upbeat mood ahead of the game:
“I think we’re just going to roll straight into it. Training this week and last has been pretty seamless. We’ve come in and hit the ground running,” he said.
“We’re really happy with where we are at the moment so it’s about taking that momentum into this weekend.
“We’ll focus on Georgia first and foremost but then afterwards again it will be pretty seamless and continue on.
“My involvement with Scotland has been really exciting so far. It was probably a bit unexpected on my part but I’m really relishing and enjoying the opportunity at the moment.
“It was a bit of an abrupt end to the season for everyone and we all had to adapt to the new circumstances.
“But we’ve all been chomping at the bit and it’s good to be back in camp. Everyone is raring to go and you can see that in our training.”
While the Scots are definitely on the up, it is hoped that the Georgians will make a decent contest of it and fuel their performance with the fiery passion for which they are known.
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