The deputy captain of “Lilos”, who opposed the Blues on Sunday in Bordeaux, was Pekka Gorgadze of the new Palois, certainly the most French of the Georgian third row, from his early childhood boundless admiration for the first fourteenth.
In a letter written in 2005 and recently exhumed his mother, Georgadze, a footballer who has turned to emulate his older brother and especially his cousin Salomon Karukhnishvili, the former Under-20 international rugby player, wrote his goal of developing in the French championship.
He was at that time 9 years old and had just discovered rugby in the Caucasian lands in Rustavi, 25 kilometers from the capital, Tbilisi. His dream took hold ten years later during the youth tournament in Poland, where he was spotted by a French agent.
Still young Gorgadze left the Georgian National Academy and landed at Mont-de-Marsan, a Pro D2 club, where he finished his training and learned French in just a few months to be able to communicate more easily.
“When I arrived in Mont-de-Marsan, I was told that I could become a JIFF (a player with a French coach) and why not play for the France national team, but that was not my goal,” he told AFP.
“Georgia is a small country, but we are proud of what we have and what we are,” he continues. “When things are not going well in the country, we can at least bring a little happiness to our families. This is also a source of pride for us.”
Fan of Mamuka Gorgodzi, former captain of Montpellier and Toulon, who has roughly the same name caught the attention of Georgian coaches in June 2015. He played against Uruguay and Italy two World Cup preparatory matches in the UK, which in the end is not so retained.
The Bordeaux Piglets, who hired him in 2018, are still noticing his slaughter at Landes, despite last season being marred with ankle injuries.
– Championship, the other dream –
His childhood dream, Top 14, has come true, and his rise to the Georgia side (31 caps) continues, as the Blues await Sunday for what this three-color kid considers rugby a “historic moment”.
“A match between France and Georgia has happened only once before (64-7 for the Blues in the 2007 World Cup). It’s a team with players we know by heart,” Gorgadze salivated, realizing that this was a new step in the process of recognizing Lelos at the international level.
At the moment, the Georgians did not have the right to face the big countries until the World Cup (Argentina and New Zealand in 2015, Australia and Fiji in 2019).
Last year, the Covid-19 crisis miraculously allowed them, replacing Japan, to compete in the Autumn Nations Cup and challenge Ireland, England and Wales.
“It was important for us to participate in this competition, even more than the World Cup,” said the third grader. “You made us progress and grow.”
If they still have to qualify for the 2023 World Cup, the Georgians, without competition or for nearly five years in the Six Nations Championship but were sharply defeated by the world champions in South Africa in early July in Pretoria (40-9), hope to be invited Permanent to major international events.
And why not replace the struggling Italy in the championship? “We have talked about it for a while, but it will be difficult for us to get to it for commercial reasons,” Gorgadze notes. “We want to participate in the tournament, perhaps via the up-and-down system.”
Thus this match against France is a golden opportunity for him and his teammates on the condition that they “show their best face, (and not) be spectators”.
“We are dreaming of the championship, but as long as we do nothing, it is difficult,” admitted the player from the Pau division, who did not finish the dream at the age of 25.
“Evil thinker. Music scholar. Hipster-friendly communicator. Bacon geek. Amateur internet enthusiast. Introvert.”