Mamuka Gorgodze will make a stunning return to Georgia’s squad for the Rugby World Cup, more than two years after announcing his retirement from international rugby.
The iconic Toulon back-row forward – arguably the finest player in Georgia’s history – called time on his career with the national team in May 2017, specifically citing the fact he did not believe he would be capable of shining at the 2019 World Cup.
However, after head coach Milton Haig saw his options limited by injuries, Gorgodze, 35, has agreed to reverse his retirement.
Gorgodze and Davit Kacharava will each play at their fourth World Cups, but injury has denied Merab Kvirikashvili a fifth appearance at the showpiece.
— Georgian Rugby Union (@GeorgianRugby) September 2, 2019
At the other end of the experience scale is 19-year-old hooker Vano Karkadze, one of 13 players heading to the World Cup for the first time.
Georgia open their campaign against Wales on September 23 before further pool games against Uruguay, Fiji and Australia.
Georgia squad for the Rugby World Cup:
Forwards: Jaba Bregvadze, Levan Chilachava, Beka Gigashvili, Otar Giorgadze, Guram Gogichashvili, Beka Gorgadze, Mamuka Gorgodze, Vano Karkadze, Lasha Lomidze, Shalva Mamukashvili, Giorgi Melikidze, Kote Mikautadze, Mikheil Nariashvili, Giorgi Nemsadze, Beka Saghinadze, Shalva Sutiashvili, Giorgi Tkhilaishvili.
Backs: Tedo Abzhandadze, Gela Aprasidze, Giorgi Begadze, Zurab Dzneladze, Davit Katcharava, Lasha Khmaladze, Giorgi Kveseladze, Vasil Lobzhanidze, Lasha Malaghuradze, Soso Matiashvili, Mirian Modebadze, Tamaz Mtchedlidze, Merab Sharikadze, Sandro Todua.