NZ Rugby World



Not so well known in this part of the world is that there is extreme political tension between Russia and Georgia.

In other words, they don't really like each other and their respective government­s are always bickering.

Georgia is little brother in this relationsh­ip. It has a fraction of the population of Russia and a fraction of the natural resources. But in rugby terms, Georgia is big brother.

It is much higher ranked and has the better players and so loves the chance to get one over on big brother. But they were denied that opportunit­y last year.

They were due to host Russia in the capital, Tbilisi, but the former decided to not come.

Russian authoritie­s declared that: “Demonstrat­ions by radical persons in protest against Russian political actionism,” had led to them making the decision to not allowing the team to travel to Georgia.

Georgian authoritie­s said they could guarantee the safety of the team. Russia wouldn't budge, though, and the fixture was called o .

Many New Zealanders didn't support the decision and protested against it. There was genuine civil unrest as protestors were visible for the duration of the tour and it led the news agenda every day.

One of those protests happened in Hamilton ahead of the match between Waikato and the Springboks.

Protestors managed to get on to the field before the game and then refused to be moved by the Police. In the end, fearing that the protestors could be attacked by the angry fans who were wanting the game to go ahead, the Police decided to cancel the game.

Later on the same tour, protestors dropped flour bombs from a plane, hoping to cancel the test at Eden Park.

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