6NB: Georgia well on top
In this year of the World Cup, Georgia have proved themselves the best of Europe's second tier as the European Nations Cup (Six Nations B) enters its last round. None of the other five countries can catch Georgia.
Still the Lelos' match with the Russian Bears is of interest as once Georgia was a part of Russia and there is quite a bit of needle between the two.
After Spain's strong showing last week, Spain could be expected give Romania a hard time though the bigger Oaks pack would expect to triumph. Some of the best Leones will not be there as they prepare for the Hong Kong Sevens.
The Lobos of Portugal should have an easy passage in Lisbon against the winless Ukrainians.
Fixtures, Round 5
Russia vs Georgia at Sochi
Romania vs Spain in Bucharest
Portugal vs Ukraine in Lisbon
Russia vs Spain, 28-24 in Madrid
Portugal vs Romania. 24-17 in Lisbon
Georgia vs Ukraine, 62-3
Georgia vs Spain, 60-0
Portugal vs Russia, 21-19 in Sochi
Ukraine vs Romania, called off for freezing conditions
Georgia vs Portugal, 13-12 in Lisbon
Romania vs Russia, 33-3 in Bucharest
Spain vs Ukraine, 35-13 in Madrid
Georgia vs Romania, 25-10 in Tblisi
Spain vs Portugal, 18-11 in Madrid
Russia vs Ukraine, 41-5 in Odessa
The Log after 4 Rounds
1 Georgia 16
2 Russia 8
3 Spain 8
4 Portugal 8
5 Romania 6
6 Ukraine 0
Romania and Ukraine have a game in hand.
Russia vs Georgia
Sochi is on the Black Sea, Russia's principal resort, just west of Georgia, chosen for the winter Olympics in 2014. Playing there gets away from the worst of the Moscow climate. Resort or not rain is forecast for Saturday with a high of 12°C, dropping to 8°C.
For Russia both centres are changed from the team that dispatched Ukraine. Andrey Kuzin and Alex Makovetsky drop out as does flank Andrei Temnov, who is replaced by Andrey Ostrikov.
Georgia look just too strong for the eager Russians.
Georgia have just one change to their starting XV. Flank Guia Labadze is injured and replaced by George Chkhaidze. There are changes on the bench as prop George Zhghenti comes in along with Irakli Chkhikvadze and Lasha Malaghuradze.
Russia: 15 Igor Kluchnikov, 14 Vasily Artemiev, 13 Mikhail Babaev, 12 Igor Galinovskiy, 11 Vladimir Ostroushko, 10 Konstantin Rachkov, 9 Alexander Shakirov, 8 Vyachelav Gratchev, 7 Andrey Ostrikov, 6 Artem Fatakhov, 5 Andrey Garbuzov, 4 Alexander Voytov, 3 Ivan Prishepenko, 2 Vlad Korshunov (captain), 1 Sergey Popov
Replacements: 16 Alexander Khrokin, 17 Alexey Travkin, 18 Evgeniy Mateev, 19 Andrey Temnov, 20 Alexander Yanushkin, 21 Yuri Kushnarev, 22 Victor Gresev
Georgia: 15 Bessik Khamashuridze, 14 Irakli Machkhaneli, 13 David Katcharava, 12 Tedo Zibzibadze, 11 Lexo Gugava, 10 Merab Kvirikashvili, 9 Irakli Abusseridze (captain), 8 Mamuka Gorgodze, 7 Shalva Sutiashvili, 6 George Chkhaidze, 5 Vakhtang Maissuradze, 4 Levan Datunashvili, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 David Khinchaguishvili
Replacements: 16 Irakli Natriashvili, 17 Vassil Kakovini, 18 George Nemsadze, 19 Victor Kolelishvili, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Lasha Malaghuradze, 22 Beka Urjukashvili
Date: 19 March 2011
Venue: South Sports Park, Sochi
Referee: Patrick Pechambert (France)
Romania vs Spain
Pedro Martin, Javier Canosa, Carlos Blanco, Martin Heredia, Pablo Feijo and Federico Negrillo of the team that beat Portugal are in the Spanish side for the Hong Kong Sevens.
Romania squad: Nere Nicolae, Dima Dragos, Mariscariu Vasile, Lazar Mihaita, Zebega Bogdan, Radoi Andrei, Socol Sorin, Petre Cristian, Ursache Valentin, Popirlan Valentin, Carpo Daniel, Macovei Mihai, Ianus Daniel, Lucaci Viorel, Pllotschi Traian, Valcu Alexandru, Surugiu Florin, Calafeteanu Valentin, Vlaicu Florin, Dumbrava Danut, Dimofte Ionut, Dascalu Robert, Gal Csaba, Gheara Constantin, Fercu Catalin, Lemnaru Madalin, Nicolae Catalin, Cazan Ionel, Dumitras Iulian, Florea Ionut
Spain squad: Jesús Moreno, Mattin Auzqui, Rodrigo Martinez, Fabien Rofes, Sergio Souto, Mathieu Roca, Martin Aceña, Matt Cook, Adrien Ayestaran, Andoni Jorajuria, Ramón Narváez, Ignacio Gutierrez Muller, Jesús Recuerda, Brice Labadie, Juan González, Diego Álvarez, Aníbal Bonan, Eduard Sorribes, Sébastien Rouet, Bruno Angulo, Julien Tourtolou, Remi Delgado, Baptiste Sánchez
Date: 19 March 2011
Venue: Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest
Referee: Johan van der Merwe (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Andy Ireland (Scotland), Archie McInally (Scotland)
Portugal vs Ukraine
There have been wholesale changes in the Portuguese backs. The only survivors are the halfbacks Joe Gardner and José Pinto while António Aguilar switches from fullback to left wing. The forwards are largely unscathed. The tight five and the flanks are the same. The only forward change is at No.8 where experienced Vasco Uva replaces Tiago Girão.
Portugal: 15 Pedro Leal, 14 Adérito Esteves, 13 Pedro Silva, 12 Carl Murray, 11 António Aguilar, 10 Joseph Gardner, 9José Pinto, 8 Vasco Uva, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Jacques le Roux, 5 Gonçalo Uva, 4 Juan Severino, 3 Juan Murré, 2 Lionel Campergue, 1 Cristian Spachuk
Replacements: 16 Bernardo Duarte, 17 Anthony Alves, 18 Rui D’Orey, 19 Fernando Almeida, 20 Pedro Cabral, 21 Bernardo Silveira, 22 Francisco Serra
Date: 19 March 2011
Venue: Estádio Universitário, Lisbon
Referee: Dudley Philips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Peter Haycock (Ireland)