September 22, 2019 / 6:39 AM / a month ago

Georgia need regular exposure against top teams - Worsley

TOYOTA CITY, Japan (Reuters) - Defence coach Joe Worsley believes the only way Georgia will continue their improvement is to play more regularly against top rugby nations, but says the issue is a “political hot potato” ahead of Monday’s World Cup Pool D match against Wales.

Worsley, who won 78 caps for England as a loose-forward, thinks Georgia would be a good addition to the Six Nations, but there has been no moves by European rugby bosses to include them, despite the fact that they have been consistently positioned above Italy in the world rankings for some time.

He says it is only by playing against top tier opposition that Georgia will improve their decision-making and game management, something that is not tested enough against Tier 2 teams.

“The solution is complicated,” he told reporters in Toyota on Sunday. “In a nutshell, when you play in these intense Tier 1 matches, it becomes necessary to have very good game management and make good decisions.

“Now, if you’re used to playing games where you don’t have to do that 100 percent of the time, you can creep into having a few bad decisions, and that can be the difference between being beaten and winning a game. You make one or two bad executions and it’s done.

“The more these teams get exposed to Tier 1 nations, the more they get exposed to that level where it’s necessary to always perform at the top level, and the less these errors will happen.”

Georgia faced Scotland in two World Cup warm-up matches and lost heavily in both, but Worsley believes it was vital preparation in terms of giving the players an insight into what to expect from the likes of Wales and Australia later in the pool.

“We can see the improvements after just two games against Scotland and were that to happen more regularly then the improvements would be even bigger.

“However, that is a political hot potato, so let’s not go there.”

Worsley played under Wales coach Warren Gatland at English Premiership side Wasps and has been impressed with how the 56-year-old has transformed the fortunes of the Welsh.

“I’ve been watching Warren since he left Wasps. I saw what he did at Wasps, I experienced it, and I’ve seen from afar what he’s done with the Welsh team.

“He’s transformed the team who were knocked out by Fiji (at the 2007 World Cup) just before he got involved, to a team that’s winning Grand Slams and became the best in the world for a short period.

“...while I admire him it makes it a more difficult proposition to play against one of those teams because you know that on the pitch the rugby organisation is great, but also behind the scenes the staff and the drive that he gives the staff and the players is intense.”

Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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