Georgia head coach Milton Haig has welcomed talks later this month over possible promotion and relegation from the Six Nations Championship admitting the Lelos ‘just want to have that chance’ of dining at the top table of the European game.
WRU chairman Gareth Davies revealed last week promotion and relegation from the Six Nations, bonus points and a switch from its schedule in February and March to April is ‘all up for grabs’ when the tournament’s council meet at the end of the month for a review into the 2016 competition won by an England Grand Slam.
Should promotion and relegation finally come in, or a play-off between the winners of the European Nations Cup and bottom-placed country in the Six Nations, then Georgia would be in the box seat to line up against the cream of the northern hemisphere game having accumulated six second tier titles on the trot.
Responding to the comments of WRU chief Davies, Haig told Planet Rugby:
“We just want to get in there. Honestly, if we had a play-off where we played the bottom of the Six Nations, obviously we’d take that because it’s a good start for us.If we’re good enough, we will win and get in. All we want to do is to have that chance. If we’re not good enough, we’re not good enough and we’ll be the first to put our hands up and say ‘sorry guys, maybe in another few years. The reality though is give us an opportunity, because we think we’re ready for it. Whether that transpires to being good enough to get in, who knows, but we’re ready for the chance.
“It’s become more tangible, certainly because of the results in the last year or so. It is a topic that is being discussed more by the powers that be who make these decisions, I’m sure of that. Whether it transpires to anything solid I’m less sure, but I expect because of what we’ve achieved it’s being talked about. The atmosphere here at a game is special. We had 54,000 at the Romania game even after we’d won the ENC when there was nothing riding on it.
“To have a big Six Nations game in Tbilisi, you could probably sell it two times, three times over. Teams coming over here would enjoy it, the hospitality of the Georgian people is renowned, and we think they’d enjoy the city of Tbilisi as well. Hopefully that will all be part of the selling process if we ever get to that stage of being included – that Tbilisi can be a destination similar to Rome or Paris.”