Mamuka Gorgodze was named man of the match in his side's 43-10 defeat to New Zealand in Cardiff. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/World Rugby via Getty Images
By The Guardian
Two World Cup supermen, Jacques Burger and Mamuka Gorgodze, will hurtle into seismic collision as Namibia and Georgia take another tournament turn – both battered, but unbowed and fiercely proud.
Neither global superstar will grace the World Cup’s knock-out stages – but rather than wallow in self-pity, both men will put their bodies on the line for national service once more.
Namibia are still hunting a first-ever World Cup win, and facing Georgia will represent their 19th tilt for that elusive tournament victory.
“I’ve had to do a lot of interviews after losing but never once was I ashamed to be called Namibian,” captain Burger tweeted before the Georgia game.
The Toulon loose forward Gorgodze has once again proved to be Georgia’s inspirational leader at this World Cup, Milton Haig’s side’s sole victory being an impressive 17-10 triumph over Tonga.
Gorgodze was named man of the match despite Georgia losing out 43-10 to New Zealand at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Friday.
The 31-year-old’s humble look of surprise and honour on learning of his award lit up still further a dogged and commendable performance from Georgia against the defending champions.
Georgia have made wholesale changes to face Namibia, but Gorgodze is retained in the back-row. Haig called on his players to show heart and courage against the All Blacks, and will repeat the demand one more time.
“I asked the boys during the week before the All Blacks game to play with a bit of pride for their country, to show the rugby world what Georgian rugby is all about,” Haig said.
“For large parts of the game that’s what we did. I was a proud coach then, and I know my players can make me proud again.”