Georgia

Kiwi coaches seeking their fortunes abroad

Even Sir Graham and Hansen themselves were forced to take a pathway through Wales en route to the top NZ role.

If you're in doubt about which teams to support at the Rugby World Cup when New Zealand aren't playing, this list of Kiwi-coached sides may swing your allegiance.

Joe Schmidt (Ireland)

International teams coached: Ireland (2013-present)

International record: 50-18-1 (72.5 percent)

Tournament titles: Three (Six Nations 2014, 2015, 2018)

Georgia Rugby pleads for a spot in expansion plans

Among them, Georgia.

With a billionaire backer and a Kiwi coach, European rugby's potential sleeping giants want to make their mark.

The powerhouse Georgian pack recently helped England prepare for their Six Nations opener against Ireland, but they hope that's not the closest they get to competing in European rugby's premier international competition.

Georgia want to play against the game's heavyweights and winning the 'most improved' award is no longer an option, according to coach Milton Haig.

I-85 fire: Section of Atlanta highway collapses

All five lanes of the highway in each direction were blocked and will be closed for the foreseeable future, officials said.

Georgia get the better of Samoa

As the scoreline suggests, this was a tight contest and the home side's forwards deserve plenty of credit for the result as they laid the platform to victory with a dominant display in the tight exchanges.

Georgia outscored their visitors by two tries to one with both their five-pointers coming in the first half when they dominated scrums close to Samoa's try-line.

The visitors opened the scoring via a Patrick Faapale penalty before Georgia were awarded a penalty try in the 12th minute when Samoa's forwards capitulated at a scrum on their five-metre line.

Samoa look to recover quickly to face Georgian challenge

The Georgians had their own issues last week, suffering a 28-22 loss to Japan defeat in Tbilisi.

Namulauulu Alama Ieremia still expects Georgia to be a difficult assignment.

He said his team is focusing on preparing to put together a full 80 min performance after falling away against the French.

"We want to have a good look at what is a significant difference between in first half and the second half and obviously selection we'll look after that," Namulauulu said.

Pope preaches in half-empty stadium

Orthodox believers were asked not to take part in Roman Catholic services and a Church delegation due to attend also stayed away.

But Church officials said the decision had been taken by mutual agreement.

It was one of the smallest crowds seen at an outdoor papal Mass during Francis's foreign trips.

People who did attend in the capital Tbilisi said afterwards that the papal visit was good for Georgia.

"This is a very significant event, both for the country and for faithful from the whole Catholic parish," Keti Khitarikhvili told Reuters news agency.

Talakhadze takes gold with world-record lift

Lasha Talakhadze set a new world record for total combined weight lifted in the men's over 105kg competition to claim gold at Rio 2016.

The 22-year-old Georgian, gold medallist in the same category at the World Weightlifting Championships in 2015, secured victory by a comfortable margin with a combined total lift of 473kg.

Samoa hold Georgia to a draw

It was mostly a kicking game which was a surprise with Samoa's kicking almost non-existent in its previous test matches.

However, Patrick Fa’apale who played at first-five didn’t shy away from the challenge when he nailed all of his kicks at goal and a try conversion.

The playing field was leveled as rain took away the humidity that would have played a part in making the game even tougher, leading to the first half tryless, with Georgia ahead nine to Samoa's six.

Lelos Georgia make the most of Samoa tour ahead of tough clash

"We arrived very early in the morning on Saturday last week and then we relaxed from then through Sunday and a cross country road trip to the other side of the island just to relax a little bit more.It has just been fantastic," the former head coach for the Counties Manukau said.

Milton Haig and the Georgian team even took a special fishing trip out to Samoa’s coast and caught themselves a large yellow fin tuna. However, work soon started on Tuesday morning when Haig gathered his team for the conditioning ahead of the tough clash.

Manu Samoa coach confident of his training squad

"I’m really glad I got all the guys that were available to come and join us. There are a few others that will come by later on but their leagues are still running so they won’t be able to join us yet," said Ieremia.

The new head coach's main focus is rebuilding the Manu Samoa and letting go of the memories of last year's performance in the World Cup.

One notable aspect of his rebuilding efforts is the inclusion of two young names in the training squad.