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WalesOnline: The 55,000 Reasons for Georgia to be Included in the Six Nations

Wales’ autumn opponents drew a full house in Tbilisi for the Six Nations B Championship clash with Russia.

The case for Georgia’s inclusion in the Six Nations was strengthened still further today as a 55,000 crowd turned out to watch them take on Russia in Tbilisi.

There was a full house at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena for the Rugby Europe Championship clash, which the Lelos – forthcoming opponents of Wales – won 28-14.

They ran in four tries to maintain their 100 per cent record in the tournament this season following on from victories over Belgium, Germany and Spain.

Georgia have won the Championship – the Six Nations B – for six successive years and are odds on to make it seven titles in a row.

They have already secured their place in the 2019 World Cup, having finished third in their group in the 2015 campaign in England.

And they will play their first ever game against Wales later this year when they step out at the Principality Stadium in November.

There has been a growing clamour for their achievements to be recognised with a place in the Six Nations, either as an additional side in an expanded tournament or in place of strugglers Italy via a promotion/relegation play-off.

They are now up to twelfth in the world rankings, two places above the Italians, having recorded victories over Tonga and Fiji last year, while drawing with Samoa.

Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the country, as today’s 50,000-plus crowd for the meeting with Russia once again demonstrates.

They are extremely serious in their bid for a Six Nations spot, which is being backed by billionaire ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.

They are reportedly ready to pay £8.5m a year from a variety of sources to take a place among the elite, while there have also been discussions about forming a franchise which could compete in the Pro12 or Super Rugby.

While Italy continue to struggle – losing 40-18 at home to France on Saturday to remain on course for another Six Nations whitewash – Georgian rugby remains on the rise.