Rugby

Georgia's Jaba Bregvadze looks for improvement after losing to Sunwolves teammates

by Ayano Shimizu

Kyodo

Jaba Bregvadze, the first Georgian to play Super Rugby, said Saturday’s test against his Sunwolves teammates gave him a lot to reflect on.

The hooker was speaking at Toyota Stadium in Aichi Prefecture after Georgia’s 28-0 loss to head coach Jamie Joseph’s Japan.

The match started off slowly — with Japan taking advantage of several penalties and mistakes by the “Lelos” — but the Brave Blossoms sealed the win with late tries by Wimpie van der Walt, Lomano Lava Lemeki and Kazuki Himeno.

“We were focusing on every part of the game. We tried to win the game including with the scrum and lineout, but we made a lot of mistakes,” Bregvadze said in English. “It will be something that we will learn from. We will improve for the next international matches.”

Bregvadze, who was replaced in the 61st minute, joined the Sunwolves, who are also coached by Joseph, as a much-needed offensive weapon with the team looking to learn from Georgia’s scrums, dubbed the best in the world.

The Georgian said he was impressed with how the Japanese have improved over the last couple of years. Georgia, ranked 12th in the world, entered the game with 11th-ranked Japan having lost its previous two tests this summer.

“We knew that today’s scrums were harder than two years ago, because they are working really hard and (coach) Shin (Hasegawa) is working very good,” he said. “They are getting better in the scrums. I think Japan’s scrums are very good.”

Georgia has played six matches against Japan since 2006 but only managed to win in 2014. The previous game between the two countries was in 2016, when the Lelos lost 28-22 at home.

Bregvadze played for Georgia at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups. The team won two matches in 2015, finishing third in a group consisting of New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Namibia.

In a year’s time, the Lelos will open their World Cup campaign against Wales at Toyota Stadium.

“We made a lot of mistakes and we weren’t perfect. We have to play better for the next games,” Bregvadze said.

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