Recent times have been chaotic for Georgian rugby. Tkemaladze’s election, a mere six months after reports of a dispute at the union between two men that culminated in a non-fatal shooting, sparked violent protests. However, the president describes the state of the GRU as “quite stable and improving”. He insists “we are certain we will not have to face such situations in the future”.
“We have elected a new board, which has a balanced composition of successful rugby and business managers, statesmen and stars of Georgian rugby such as Mamuka Gorgodze and David Kacharava,” Tkemaladze points out.
“We have introduced new organisational structures, signed several important sponsorship deals, updated our domestic Championship rules and regulations to enhance the quality of the tournament and raised player welfare standards by launching new insurance and medical services accessible to the whole domestic rugby community.
“We established the first-ever Georgian franchise, The Black Lion, and we are working hard to get more games against ‘tier one’ opposition in order to increase our performance levels and competitiveness. We believe that all these together make a fresh start.”
Maisashvili is relishing this new chapter, vowing that he will be “fully recovered” by November and “definitely involved” in Georgia’s autumn schedule.
In the summer, the Lelos had fixtures against South Africa and Scotland cancelled due to the pandemic. They have lost their meeting with Samoa in the upcoming programme, but Maisashvili reveals that “negotiations” over another nation hosting Georgia are ongoing.
For him, thoughts of taking on France in Bordeaux on November 14 and then facing Fiji the following Friday at a neutral venue are euphoric. He is certainly determined to seize what must seem like a second chance.