Rugby Union

Vasil Lobzhanidze ready to make Rugby World Cup history

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When Georgia line up against Tonga this Saturday all eyes will be on Georgia's number nine, Vasil Lobzhanidze, who will become the youngest ever player to compete at the Rugby World Cup.

Lobzhanidze, 18, is set to beat the record currently held by American Thretton Palamo, who was 19 years old and eight days when he played against South Africa in 2007.  

The Georgian doesn't turn 19 until mid-October and if his team finish in the top two in the group stage, will play in the quarter-finals as a 19-year-old, however, with stiff competition in their group, this would be a very tall order.


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Georgia line up in Pool C alongside tournament favourites New Zealand and big hitters Argentina, with fellow minnows Namibia and Tonga making up the numbers. 

Georgia coach Milton Haig believes the opening game against Tonga is "critical" to his team's hopes of finishing third in the group, which would secure automatic qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that Tonga are in the same position as we are so it's going to be a critical game," he said.


The last time the two teams faced off was back in November 2014 where Tonga came out on top with a convincing 23-9 win in Tbilisi.

The Georgian side are not in the best form going into the World Cup, losing each of their last four matches conceding a total of 100 points.

The game between Georgia and Tonga kicks off at 12:00 BST at the Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester. 

The tournament will commence on Friday at 20:00 BST when hosts England will take on Fiji at Twickenham. 

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