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Two old Rugby Europe foes will renew a familiar rivalry in the unfamiliar venue of one of rugby’s most famous arenas, the Stade Ernest-Wallon in Toulouse, as Portugal meet Georgia in a must-win game for both sides.
The two teams meet every year in the annual Rugby Europe Championship and clashed in the tournaments grand final earlier this year, with Georgia emerging 38-11 victors. Now they will meet on the world’s biggest stage at Rugby World Cup 2023.
Georgia vs Portugal match predictions
Both ‘Os Lobos’ and the ‘Lelos’ are win-less at the tournament and desperate for their first victory. Georgia lost 35-15 to Australia in their first game in a disappointing performance, while Portugal lost bravely 28-8 to Wales in a thoroughly encouraging performance in Nice.
Georgia to win with a -15.5 point handicap @10/11 (1.90)
As previously mentioned Georgia won their last fixture against Portugal by 27-points and haven’t lost to Portugal in their last 18 fixtures since 2005.
While upsets at Rugby World Cup’s can occur more often, with tensions and expectations raised, these are two teams who are very familiar with each other and it is fair to say Levan Maisashvili’s side know how to beat Portugal. A Georgian win is all but certain and we think they will utilise the brute force and cohesion in their forward pack to win by more than two tries.
Merab Sharikadze to score the first try @14/1 (15)
Georgia’s team is predominantly led by their bruising forward pack who build victories based off of their powerful maul and scrum domination. However, Georgia’s biggest improvement over the last few years has been the development of their backs, their progress in coordination and skill have made Georgia’s backline a certified threat to any team.
Because of this, Georgia’s captain Sharikadze will get over the whitewash first. The inside centre is very well-rounded and has added soft hands and elegant movement to his powerful running-game, he has nine tries in 63 international caps for Georgia.
Can Georgia get their tournament back on track?
Portugal were stubborn and hard to break down for a strong Wales team, however, Georgia have had two weekends to dwell on their underwhelming showing versus Australia and will be baying for redemption.
Entering the tournament, there were whispers that Georgia could shock Pool C and get out of their group for the first time ever, The Lelos beat Wales last year, who currently top the pool and many predicted an historic triumph over Fiji.
This dream absorbed a significant blow on the first weekend as they were blown away by Australia and never got a true foothold in the game. However, this was just one game and a big win could kickstart an unlikely but entirely possible run to the quarter-finals with victories over Wales and Fiji. By the same token, a struggling performance or a loss to Portugal this weekend could mark the end of their aspirations of a first quarter-final.
Georgia’s last five:
- Australia 35-15 Georgia
- Scotland 33-6 Georgia
- Georgia 22-7 USA
- Georgia 56-6 Romania
- Georgia 38-11 Portugal
Portugal were not expected to put up much of a fight versus Wales last weekend, however, Os Lobos put up more than a fight and had the two-time-World Cup semi-finalists startled in parts of the match. They lost the match in the end but gained a lot of respect for their performance and subsequently will not be taken lightly by any rival in Pool C.
Portugal have never won a Rugby World Cup match before, after only appearing before in the 2007 tournament and on paper Georgia are their best opportunity to make history. Though they have not beaten Georgia since 2005, they drew 25-25 last year and so an upset victory is more than possible.
Portugal’s last five:
- Wales 28-8 Portugal
- Portugal 17-30 Australia A
- Portugal 46-20 USA
- Georgia 38-11 Portugal
- Portugal 27-10 Spain
- Date and Time: Saturday 23rd September, 13:00 GMT
- Venue: Stade Ernest-Wallon, Toulouse
- How to watch: Find Here
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