There has been a lot of talk ahead of today’s Test in Georgia that it is a dry run for the potentially pivotal final pool clash with host nation Japan in Yokohama on 13 October. Weather conditions may not play ball in that regard in Tbilisi today as Scotland become the first major rugby nation to visit Georgia for a Test match.
The game promises to be very different, too, with the famed physicality of the eastern Europeans’ pack the biggest obstacle to backing up last Saturday’s 17-14 win over France and registering another victory in this four-game World Cup warm-up series.
“We are facing a very strong, physical pack at the weekend, so we know what’s coming,” said loosehead prop Allan Dell as he looked ahead to what will undoubtedly be a ferocious scrum contest at the Dinamo Stadium this evening.
“Given how physical they are, we need to be going there with the right attitude. We need to be fronting up, otherwise you’re going to come off second best.
“We have a lot of respect for the Georgian pack. But it’s going to be a fun game. I hear the weather is to be miserable so we are looking forward to that.”
The former Edinburgh prop, who will begin a new stage in his career with London Irish after hopefully playing a part at the World Cup, won’t be holding back in Tbilisi. “If you think like that, that’s when you get hurt. If you’re going in half-hearted or you’re trying to hold something back then you’re going to get smashed,” said the 27-year-old, who will win his 23rd cap today.
“It’s a physical sport, you’re going to pick up injuries. Hopefully that’s not the case this weekend and you certainly can’t think like that. We have such a competitive squad with only a few places up for grabs. We want to go over there, put in a performance and make sure your name is in the hat.”
Dell is relishing the fact that Scotland will be the first tier-one team to play a Test in Georgia. “It’s exciting going over there to play them – it’s a new challenge and it’s good we’re going there.
“The Georgians will have a lot to prove with all the talk of them potentially joining the Six Nations. They have filled out their stadium, so they will have the backing of some very passionate fans.
“We know we will play Japan in front of a pretty hostile home crowd in the World Cup, so this just adds that something extra to the game at the weekend. I think it will be a good build-up for us.”