Georgia: ‘We have worked so hard’

“You just have to accept the conditions” the Open leader J.B. Holmes

Goergia head coach Milton Haig was thrilled to see his side get their reward for four years of preparation after defeating Tonga.

The Lelos were 17-10 winners at Kingsholm on Saturday, securing their first win over Tonga since 1999.

“It’s been four years of planning and work for everybody involved. It’s a focus we’ve had in the last two years since we qualified and we knew if we were going to have a chance to create history for Georgian rugby (by finishing third in the group) we had to win this game today.

“[That was built on] a lot of bloody hard work. The last three months have been pretty hard for everybody involved, the coaches and players, and I think today we showed that. Fitness-wise we were able to sustain our defence over the 80 minutes and that allowed us to come away with the win.”

Georgia have long campaigned to be part of the Six Nations and Haig believes another major win over a top side would help their cause.

“When you can defeat a team like Argentina, then you can talk about getting to the next level. Again, it’s about being consistent with your Test wins. We’re pretty good at winning one a year or two a year against higher ranked teams, but our goal is to compete consistently with the top eight teams in the world. There’s still a lot of water under the bridge for that to happen."

Haig singled out captain Mamuka Gorgodze for special praise after his try-scoring performance.

“He’s absolutely critical, not only as our captain, but also as a vital team member. He’s someone that the rest of the guys rally around and so obviously is pretty important to us.”

The Georgia captain expressed his pride at the effort his team put into Saturday's tough victory.

“Today in the Georgian team there were a lot of players who were young, but I think you could not tell from the outside who was a young player and who was an old player, because they all gave 100 per cent.

"All the players played the same way, with the same intention, and all the players gave 100 per cent physically."