Georgia look to grow from clash against Springboks

Georgia are hoping to add much-needed experience as they rebuild their team and look to create more depth in their squad, coach Levan Maisashvili said, as he named his selection to play South Africa in the first of two Tests on Friday.

Georgia provide the world champion Springboks with two warm-up opportunities before the start of the British and Irish Lions test series later in the month.

“We have a young team that is looking to take a lot of experience out of these two encounters. We are trying to develop more talent in our squad and create competition between the players,” said Maisashvili.

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“We have been shown big respect by the Boks that they have invited us here and these two Tests will help us to achieve this.”

South Africa and Georgia meet again in Johannesburg on July 9 after which the tourists go home to Tbilisi where they meet a Scotland side, shorn of their Lions contingent, in a one-off Test on July 17.

“Every game we play at this level is a chance for us to send out a message that we have a good team. We need stronger opposition if we are to grow,” Maisashvili added.

Lock Ilia Spanderashvili is the only uncapped player in the match-day squad and is expected to make his debut off the bench.

Georgia: 15 Davit Niniashvili, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (capt), 11 Demuri Tapladze, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 1 Guram Gogichashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 3 Giorgi Melikidze, 4 Davit Gigauri, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 6 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 7 Beka Saghinadze, 8 Tornike Jalagonia

Replacements: 16 Giorgi Chikoidze, 17 Nikoloz Khatiashvili, 18 Luka Japaridze, 19 Nodar Cheishvili, 20 Giorgi Javakhia, 21 Ilia Spanderashvili, 22 Gela Aprasidze, 23 Giorgi Badunashvili.

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