"Stop Ignoring Georgia" - Calls for Georgia's Tier One Inclusion Grow After Continued U20s Success - Ruck

“Stop Ignoring Georgia” – Calls for Georgia’s Tier One Inclusion Grow After Continued U20s Success

The calls for Georgia’s inclusion into Tier 1 rugby competitions continue to grow louder, following the continued success of the Georgian U20s side, at the ongoing 2023 U20s World Championships.

Georgia U20s have now recorded back-to-back victories over tier one opponents, as the Maroons sit comfortably at the top of Pool C. Following a hotly contested 33-23 loss to South Africa, Georgia secured a landslide victory over Argentina in round two, shutting out Los Pumas with a 20-0 triumph.

And most recently, the ‘Junior Lelos’ were resounding victors against Italy, running in a 30-16 victory to see out the pool stages. This match was eagerly watched on, as rugby fans continue to clamber for Georgia’s inclusion into the Six Nations, which could very well come at the extent of the Italians.

The ongoing debate regarding Georgian’s status as a tier 2 rugby nation, sees the Eastern Europeans senior side enclosed under the glass ceiling of the Rugby Europe Championship. Georgia are the dominant force within the competition, which many rugby fans and pundits believed should be opened up.

There is constant discussion regarding the need for an annual promotion-relegation play off match, against the bottom placed Six Nations side. Georgia have won the REC a record 15 times since 2001, with the impressive performances of the U20s presenting how ring-fenced successes will extend into the future.

Even prior to the World Championships, Georgia’s U20s recorded a historic victory over England U20s, to level a two-match series in Tbilsi. Georgia’s U20s secured a dramatic 40-38 victory over England’s next generation, in a result which has once again started the conversation for Georgia’s status as a Tier 1 rugby nation.

Georgia’s hopes of competing in Tier 1 rugby competitions were recently dealt a major blow, after it was confirmed that the Six Nations teams and SANZAAR (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina) are set to create a new biennial tournament. Commencing in 2026 and being played every other year, this new ‘Rugby World League’ will take place in-between Rugby World Cups and British & Irish Lions Tours.

South African journalist Brenden Nel called it a ‘death blow’ for sides like Georgia. He wrote on Twitter: “The proposed World League concept launched by Sanzaar and 6N today underlines the commercialisation of test rugby by investment groups. It deals a death blow to those rising nations like Georgia and Chile, who will only face Tier 1 nations from 2030.”

There are also discussions that two invited teams will join the 10 elite sides, with Japan and Fiji being the favourites for inclusion. Georgia are out to make a statement at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and have been drawn into Pool C with the Flying Fijians, as well as newcomers Portugal. Georgia also have matches against Australia and Wales, in what is their first match against Warren Gatland’s side since Georgia’s historic 13-12 victory last Autumn.