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friendly | International Rugby Union
Aug 26, 2023 at 5.30pm UK
van der Merwe (46', 78'), Darge (51'), Dempsey (59'), Steyn (69')

Preview: Scotland vs. Georgia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's friendly clash between Scotland and Georgia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Before heading to the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Scotland and Georgia will meet for one final warm-up match at Murrayfield this Saturday.

Unlike most of the other nations, Scotland have only played one warm-up match up to this point, which they lost to France two weeks ago, while the visitors secured a 22-7 win over the USA last weekend.

Match preview

Scotland's Darcy Graham scores their fourth try on March 12, 2022© Reuters

Scotland have had a relatively successful season so far, which began with winning the Calcutta Cup in the opening match of the Six Nations and going on to finish third in the competition, overtaking England from the previous year.

They then handed Wales a comprehensive 35-7 beating at this venue but could do little against the French and Irish, who went on to finish the tournament in second and first, respectively.

Gregor Townsend's side clinched a top-three spot by beating wooden spoon recipients Italy 26-14 in the final match of the competition, which was also their fifth win in six matches at Murrayfield, with their only loss in that time coming against the world number one, Ireland.

The hosts have a flawless record against Georgia, winning each of their previous five encounters, including their most recent match in 2020, which ended 48-7 and was the biggest win they have ever recorded against this opponent.

Georgia's Alexander Todua in action on November 19, 2022© Reuters

Meanwhile, Georgia were only able to manage a fourth-place finish in their Pool in Japan, which meant that they were denied automatic qualification for this year's World Cup and had to rely on the combined results of the 2021 and 2022 Rugby Europe Championships.

However, thankfully for the visitors, that is a competition they have dominated for over 10+ years, and they romped to the Europe 1 qualification spot, with a draw result against Portugal being the only minor stain on their excellent record.

It was much of the same this year as they claimed their 15th Rugby Europe Championship title with a 100% win record and also secured their 16th Antim Cup title against Romania.

Over the last two weeks, Georgia have secured solid wins, beating Romania 56-6 two weeks ago and overcoming the USA 22-7 last weekend to extend their current win streak to eight while only suffering defeat once in their last 17 matches in all competitions.

Scotland form (all competitions):

  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Georgia form (all competitions):

  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Townsend has made a few changes to the last match, with Dave Cherry getting a run as hooker and Ben White returning to the squad having recovered from his injury.

Grant Gilchrist will play alongside Sam Skinner at lock, with skipper Jamie Ritchie and Rory Darge completing the back row. Jack Dempsey rounds off the pack in the number 8 shirt.

Levan Maisashvili has also made a few notable changes to the side he put out against the USA, starting with Mikheil Nariashvili replacing Nika Abuladze in the front row while Shalva Mamukashvili and Beka Gigashvili keep their places.

Demur Tapladze steps into midfield in place of Giorgi Kveseladze, and he will partner with his skipper Merab Sharikadze at centres, while Mirian Modebadze will be given a run on the flank.

Scotland starting lineup: 15. Ollie Smith, 14. Darcy Graham, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Sione Tuipulotu, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Ben White, 8. Jack Dempsey, 7. Rory Darge, 6. Jamie Ritchie (c), 5. Grant Gilchrist, 4. Sam Skinner, 3. WP Nel, 2. Dave Cherry, 1. Jamie Bhatti

Replacements: 16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Rory Sutherland, 18. Javan Sebastian, 19. Scott Cummings, 20. Matt Fagerson, 21. George Horne, 22. Ben Healy, 23. Chris Harris

Georgia starting lineup: 15. Davit Niniashvili, 14. Akaki Tabutsadze, 13. Demur Tapladze, 12. Merab Sharikadze (c), 11. Mirian Modebadze, 10. Luka Matkava, 9. Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8. Tornike Jalaghonia, 7. Mikheil Gachechiladze, 6. Luka Ivanishvili, 5. Konstantin Mikautadze, 4. Lado Chachanidze, 3. Beka Gigashvili, 2. Shalva Mamukashvili, 1. Mikheil Nariashvili

Replacements: 16. Tengiz Zamtaradze, 17. Guram Gogichashvili, 18. Guram Papidze, 19. Lasha Jaiani, 20. Sandro Mamamtavrishvili, 21. Gela Aprasidze, 22. Tedo Abzhandadze, 23. Giorgi Kveseladze

Head To Head

Scotland have won each of the previous five Test matches against Georgia.

SM words green background

We say: Scotland 45-14 Georgia

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Wales' Liam Williams celebrates scoring their fourth try against Georgia on September 23, 2019
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