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The Georgian Lelos vs Russian Bears

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, February 24
The Georgian national rugby team played its European Nations Cup 2014th third-round match versus the Russian national rugby team on February 22. More than 45,000 rugby fan attended the game held at Dynamo Arena Stadium. The final result was 36:10.

The match started at 5 pm on Saturday and was live broadcast by the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB).

Before starting the game, a minute of silence was dedicated in honor of those who died in the Ukraine. Accordingly to the commentator, the minute of silence was a request made by the Georgian and Russian team members.

As usual, organizers wrote on tickets behavioral rules for rugby supporters, among which was not whistling during the opponent teams’ national anthem. However, at the beginning of the match, some fans started whistling at the Russian anthem. Some fans had even brought Ukrainian flags and posters with slogans “Abkhazia and Samachoblo is Georgia”, “Glory to Ukraine, Glory to Heroes.”

Russian rugby team supporters were also present at the match. However, the game ended without any physical confrontation.

Georgian Parliamentary Chairperson David Usupashvili, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Levan Kipiani, Chief of the General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces Vakhtan Kapanadze, and the International Rugby Board (IRB) President, Bernard Lapasset also attended the rugby match.

The high Georgian score ensured the team to receive a bonus point for scoring four tries against their opponent. The victory against Russians has guaranteed Georgia a place in rugby's biggest forum. Saturday’s match was the second phase of the qualification for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. This has happened for the fourth time in the Georgian rugby team’s history, when they reached the final stage.

In other matches, the Romanian national team beat Spain 32:6 and Portugal was defeated by Belgium at home 6:19.

It should be noted that like the Georgian Lelos, Romanians also guaranteed World Cup. Following games will show which one will leave for England in the first place.

European Nations Cup next meeting will be held in Madrid on March 8. On March 15 Georgia’s main rival Romanian national team will be hosted in tournament.

To date, the Georgian and Russian rugby teams have played each other 18 times. Of this, Georgia has won 16 matches, one game ended in a draw and one game (the first ever) ended with a victory for the Russian team.

President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, published statement on his Facebook page and congratulated Lelos on Victory. Statement was sighed “Your loyal fan, Giorgi Margvelashvili.”

Georgian Rugby Union President, Giorgi Nizharadze thanked the Russian team for brave and good game. He also thanked fans for great support.