Bristol lock Giorgi Nemsadze has been selected as Georgia captain in the opening round of the Rugby Europe International Championships.
Georgia are currently ranked 12th in the world, which is two places higher than Six Nations side Italy.
Nemsadze, who has 76 caps for Georgia, said: “It is the first time for me to captain The Lelos and it’s huge responsibility and honour to be one after such players as Mamuka Gorgodze and Merab Sharikadze.”
Georgia plays their first match of the year against Belgium in Kutaisi, at the AIA Arena on Saturday.
Also in the competition this season are Romania, Spain, Russia and Germany.