Georgia faces Fiji in a Pool D match at Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka Prefecture, Higashiosaka City on 3 October. Kickoff is a 2:15 pm local time (01:15 ET). The match may be viewed in the U.S. on-demand on NBC Sports Gold and on and TSN channels 1 and 4 in Canada.
Georgia Head Coach Milton Haig has made 11 changes for the game against Fiji in Hanazono on Thursday, with Merab Sharikadze, returning as captain.
Sharikadze is the third player to captain Georgia at Rugby World Cup 2019. Mikheil Nariashvili was the captain against Wales, as Sharikadze was out with a knee injury. Jaba Bregvadze led the Lelos against Uruguay, with Sharikadze on the bench.
Georgia is fielding a strong side with the forwards the same as against Wales. There are three changes in the backs with captain Merab Sharikadze returning from injury at the center, Lasha Khmaladze at flyhalf, and Sandro Todua on the left-wing. Georgia will hope to continue its set-piece dominance against Fiji.
Georgia enters the match in third place in Pool D, one point behind Australia, making this a much-win game. The team would like to advance to the Cup Quarterfinals, but a third-place finish would mean automatic qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Fiji coach John McKee has made 11 changes to his team for Fiji’s Pool D match against Georgia.
Only Manasa Saulo, Leone Nakarawa, captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu, and Semi Radradra return following the defeat by Uruguay. The squad is largely the one which lost to Australia in the Fijian’s opening match, with 13 players from in the lineup against Georgia. Only prop Manasa Saulo, instead of Peni Ravai, and Semi Kunatani, who has recovered from injury to make his Rugby World Cup debut in place of Viliame Mata.
Kunatani will be the openside flanker, with Peceli Yato, returning from the head injury suffered against Australia, moving from openside to number eight. Yato will play number eight for only the third time in his 35-cap Test career.
Frank Lomani scored two tries and Semi Radradra one when Fiji beat Georgia 37-15 in Suva last year.
After losing its first two matches, Fiji is unlikely to make the knockout stages, but victory over Georgia would put them back into contention for third place in Pool D and automatic qualification for Rugby World Cup 2023.
Georgia: 1. Mikheil Nariashvili 2. Shalva Mamukashvili 3. Beka Gigashvili 4. Giorgi Nemsadze 5. Konstantine Mikautadze 6. Giorgi Tkhilaishvili 7. Mamuka Gorgodze 8. Beka Gorgadze 9. Vasil Lobzhanidze 10. Lasha Khmaladze 11. Alexander Todua 12. Merab Sharikadze (capt.) 13. David Kacharava 14. Giorgi Kveseladze 15. Soso Matiashvili 16. Jaba Bregvadze 17. Guram Gogichashvili 18. Levan Chilachava 19. Otari Giorgadze 20. Beka Saginadze 21. Gela Aprasidze 22. Lasha Malaguradze 23. Miriani Modebadze
Fiji: 1. Campese Ma’afu 2. Samuel Matavesi 3. Manasa Saulo 4. Tevita Cavubati 5. Leone Nakarawa 6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt.) 7. Semi Kunatani 8. Peceli Yato 9. Frank Lomani 10. Ben Volavola 11. Semi Radradra 12. Lepani Botia 13. Waisea Nayacalevu 14. Josua Tuisova 15. Kini Murimurivalu 16. Tuvere Vugakoto 17. Eroni Mawi 18. Peni Ravai 19. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa 20. Viliame Mata 21. Nikola Matawalu 22. Jale Vatubua 23. Josh Matavesi