A Humble Warrior
16 October, 2015
A Humble Warrior
Georgians are not used to falling behind, especially in rugby. Even against the All Blacks. For Georgian rugby players, the stadium is a battlefield. In fact, when the war between Georgia and Russia broke out, many players stepped forward to defend their homeland.

“It was nothing special. I was in the reserves when the war started. We were summoned, and we obliged.”

We aren’t kidding you. An August 2008 photo of Giorgi Begadze, scrum half of Georgian National Rugbygeotv.ge
in: 10px 5px;" /> Team, in a military uniform has caused quite a stir on social media. Back then Begadze was actually a reservist. When he got called on to fight, he did not hesitate to exchange the ball for an assault rifle. However, Georgia’s reserve troops never saw any action and this is why he avoids discussing the topic. Never actually did anything for Georgia, he says. Even if that might be true, he still has a different kind of war to fight. The Georgian National Team’s latest performances, which have earned them a ticket to the 2019 World Cup, are all the proof we need of their extreme willingness and ability.

This is what Giorgi Begadze told Georgian Journal about his and his team’s recent successes and failures:

– We planned to win at least two matches to end up on the 2019 World Cup list without the qualification rounds, and we managed to do exactly that. As for the games we lost, well… We proved ourselves more than worthy opponents for New Zealand, and our defeat against Argentina is owed to a mistake in defense...

– What about the historical match against New Zealand? How does it feel to have All Blacks screaming a haka in your face?

– We could never have imagined that one day we would have players such as Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter, Waisake Naholo, Julian Savea and others chanting a haka to intimidate us. But we were not intimidated one bit. On the contrary, I think we did very well. Besides, on that day there was only one match scheduled, so we had the entire world watching us. So, in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators, we played an excellent game against the acting world champions. Is there a better experience, a better emotion? I don’t think so.

– “A warrior both on the playing field and the battlefield” was the description provided for the photo of you clad in the military uniform. Could you comment on it in any way?

– I don’t even know who took or published it. Anyway, it was nothing special. I was in the reserves when the war started. We were summoned, and we obliged. That’s it, end of story. A couple years later, someone began sharing this photo on social media, and people became interested. But again, it does not signify anything special.

– But a rugby match can be likened to a battle of sorts, don’t you think?

– Can’t disagree with that. A rugby player’s weapon is his determination and relentlessness. When on the field, one represents his country and fights alongside his comrades. That’s one hell of a motivating cocktail for you!




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