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Sport

Eight changes in Georgia team to meet England

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - Wales vs Georgia - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Britain - November 18, 2017 Georgia's Shalva Mamukashvili at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

LONDON (Reuters) - Georgia have strengthened their pack but will have a new cap on the wing when they meet England in their opening Autumn Nations Cup clash at Twickenham on Saturday.

Coach Levan Maisashvili named Sandro Svanidze, a graduate of the country’s under-20 team, on the wing for a first cap while former Exeter University lock Lasha Jaiani will play for only the third time after being brought into the squad following their 48-7 loss to Scotland in a warm-up test last month.

They are among eight changes from the side that lost at Murrayfield on Oct. 23.

Hooker Shalva Mamukashvili, a veteran of 75 caps, is restored to the front row while tighthead prop Beka Gigashvili and fullback Lasha Khmaladze return after injury.

Giorgi Tkhilaishvili is back on the flank with Giorgi Kveseladze to play at centre and Gela Aprasidze preferred to Vasil Lobzhanidze at scrumhalf.

Georgia replaced Japan in the field for the new tournament and meet England for only the third time, having conceded 125 points in their previous meetings, both at World Cup tournaments.

Team:

15-Lasha Khmaladze, 14-Akaki Tabutsadze, 13-Giorgi Kveseladze, 12-Merab Sharikadze (capt), 11-Sandro Svanidze, 10-Tedo Abzhandadze, 9-Gela Aprasidze, 8-Beka Gorgadze, 7-Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 6-Beka Saghinadze, 5-Grigol Kerdikoshvili, 4-Lasha Jaiani, 3-Beka Gigashvili, 2-Shalva Mamukashvili, 1-Mikheil Nariashvili

Replacements: 16-Jaba Bregvadze, 17-Guram Gogichashvili, 18-Lexo Kaulashvili, 19-Otar Giorgadze, 20-Tornike Jalagonia, 21-Vasil Lobzhanidze, 22-Deme Tapladze, 23-Sandro Todua

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis

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