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Soap and Water, Georgia’s Solution To Slippery Ball At The Rugby World Cup

Georgian team have been practicing with a ball dunked in soapy water to help them get good grips with the hot, humid weather in Japan.
03 Oct 2019 13:09
Soap and Water, Georgia’s Solution To Slippery Ball At The Rugby World Cup
Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze said the Georgian team have been practicing with a ball dunked in soapy water to help them get good grips with the hot, humid weather in Japan. Souce: World Rugby

Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze said the Georgian team have been practicing with a ball dunked in soapy water to help them get good grips with the hot, humid weather in Japan, he told journalists at a press conference on Wednesday.

All the players have been observed to be struggling to catch even the simplest of passes at the Rugby World Cup as a result of this humidity issue.

The Georgian sides have yet to score a big win over a top tier nation, and defeating the two-times quarter-finalists Fiji, would do just that.

Captain Sharikadze said they had to be wary of the Pacific islanders’ pace and dynamism by keeping the ball alive for as long as they can.

“We know the Fijians are very good with the ball so what we expect is they’ll run the ball a lot, probably a lot of offloads,” he said.

That approach will be in stark contrast to the Georgian brand of rugby, which leans more toward the brute force of forwards than the fleet-footedness of the backs.

The humidity will draw buckets of sweat from the players and turn the ball into a greasy bar of soap so throwing the ball across the backline might not the best strategy at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium

“We haven’t done it in Japan but we did it in preseason,” Sharikadze said, turning to coach Milton Haig to offer an apology for divulging a training secret.

“The coaches used to put the ball in water with soap and we used to train with that. Hopefully that slippery soap and water will help us now.”

While Georgia come into the game on only three days’ rest after Sunday’s win over Uruguay, Haig said his squad were fine with the quick return to action.

“Short turnarounds only become a problem if you make them a problem,” he added. “Players generally like short turnarounds because it means they don’t have to train much, they only have to play.”

Smothering the running rugby of the Fijians with their hulking forwards will be the priority for Georgia but Haig said the Europeans must add new elements to their game if they are to challenge the top teams.

Feedback: jennis.naidu@fijisun.com.fj

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