Pool B preview: England v Georgia

Sat, 17 Sep 2011 00:00
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Stereotypes suggest that this World Cup fixture will be a massive physical clash and nothing much besides.

Stereotypes suggest that this World Cup fixture will be a massive physical clash and nothing much besides. That is unlikely to happen. Surely this time England will want their backs running, especially clever Ben Foden and try-hungry Chris Ashton.

And surely England's loose forwards will be more creative and effective than the big Georgians and so give the backs lots of generous ball? In fact, the attacking may start  as close as the halfbacks - lively, fast Ben Youngs and cunning Toby Flood.

It could end up an expansive game.

England should also be much the fresher of the two. They slammed it out with the Pumas on Saturday while the Georgians played Scotland on Wednesday, four days fewer than England. That is a bit hard on the Lelos.

But the Lelos are tough men. Their spirit will be willing but as the game wears on their flesh may weaken just a bit as their bodies protest at such a short recovery period.

England will win. It's so hard to see where Georgia can beat England - not in the tight five, the back three or anywhere along the backline. The Lelos' smaller pack will try manfully but are unlikely to make much of an impression on England.

Goalkicking could be interesting in the enclosed stadium where climate is not a factor but where both England and Argentina kicked woefully when they met in their one-try match.

Players to Watch:

For England: The two with most try-scoring potential - Ben Foden and Chris Ashton - in the England side are always worth keeping an eye on. Perhaps Manu Tuilagi may come more out of his shell this time. In the pack one would expect a strong performance from Matt Stevens and it is interesting to see how ageing Simon Shaw does.

For Georgia: Of the Georgians it may well be two loose forwards who may catch the eye - No.8 Dimitri Basilaia and tough flank Mamuka Gorgodze.

Head to Head: The two packs at scrums. When England and the Pumas met, the scrums were a mess in the perfect climate of Otago Stadium, while the scrums in the Invercargill rain were much, much tidier when Scotland and Georgia met. The contest between the two No.8s - Nick Easter of England and Dimitri Basilaia of Georgia.

Previous Result:
England won 84-6 at Subiaco Oval, Perth
* The two countries, sharing St George as their patron saint, have little else in common. Their only meeting on the rugby fieild was at the 2003 World Cup and then England lathered Georgia, scoring 12 tries to nil.

Prediction: England to win by over 20 points.

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The teams:

England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Delon Armitage, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Lewis Moody (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Matt Stevens.
Replacements: 16 Steve Thompson, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Tom Croft, 19 James Haskell, 20 Joe Simpson, 21 Jonny Wilkinson, 22 Matt Banahan.

Georgia: 15 Revaz Gigauri, 14 Irakli Machkhaneli, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tedo Zibzibadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Merab Kvirikashvili, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (captain), 8 Dimitri Basilaia, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Shalva Sutiashvili, 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze, 4 Ilia Zedginidze, 3 David Kubriashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 David Khinchagishvili.
Replacements: 16 Akvsenti Giorgadze, 17 David Zirakashvili, 18 Levan Datunashvili, 19 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Givi Berishvili, 22 Lasha Khmaladze.

Date: Sunday, 18 September 2011
Kick-off: 18.00 (06.00 GMT)
Venue: Otago Stadium, Dunedin
Expected weather conditions: Partly clouydy with a high of 14°C, dropping to 6°C.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 17
Wales 4 3 0 1 13
England 4 2 0 2 11
Fiji 4 1 0 3 5
Uruguay 4 0 0 4 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa 4 3 0 1 16
Scotland 4 3 0 1 14
Japan 4 3 0 1 12
Samoa 4 1 0 3 6
United States 4 0 0 4 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 19
Argentina 4 3 0 1 15
Georgia 4 2 0 2 8
Tonga 4 1 0 3 6
Namibia 4 0 0 4 1
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 18
France 4 3 0 1 14
Italy 4 2 0 2 10
Romania 4 1 0 3 4
Canada 4 0 0 4 2