RC AIA Kutaisi - RC AIA ქუთაისი
Newport and Kutaisi are twin towns and Newport RFC are delighted to welcome two guests from the AIA Kutaisi Rugby Club of Georgia, who are staying with us for a week - Mr Dimitri Pularia, the current manager of the AIA rugby school and Mr David Nemsadze, the RC AIA Kutaisi strength and conditioning coach. Newport’s association with Kutaisi began back in 1998 when Dimitri visited Newport for the first time.
“This visit was very interesting and beneficial for us. With your help we learned how to improve our way of working on different levels (children, amateurs and professionals). We visited Swansea, Cross Keys, Pontypool and other rugby clubs and watched the Newport vs Rovigo match. We met Newport and Welsh rugby legend David Watkins. Our meeting with Mr Watkins was an unforgettable experience. We had interesting meetings with different generations of members from Newport rugby club and supporters, which was also beneficial to us”.
RC AIA Kutaisi is one of the biggest and most successful rugby clubs in Georgia. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union they have held ten national titles and they constantly provide players for the Georgian national side. Quite a number of their players have also played with European teams such as Montpellier, Clermont, Toulouse, Castres and Bristol. The club itself has a 51 year history and has one of the largest rugby schools in place with over 800 children aged between 8 and 18 years old. They play at the newly opened AIA Arena which has a 4,860 capacity.
Last weekend’s Round 8 of the Georgia Big 10 saw RC AIA Kutaisi beating Armia Tbilisi by 34 points to 21 and are sitting at the top of the table, seven points clear of their nearest rivals.
Georgia is the fastest developing rugby nation in the world and has made great strides in the game. They are ranked just outside the top ten in World Rugby and came close to defeating Ireland in RWC 2017. They are nicknamed the Lelos and play in the Rugby Europe Championship, the second tier Six Nations, which they have won nine times since 2001. The Under 20 Rugby World Cup took place in Georgia this summer.
The 32 man Georgia squad named for the autumn internationals includes RC AIA Kutaisi fly-half Revaz Jinchvelashvili and uncapped full back Mirian Modebadze.
Newport RFC is very pleased to renew acquaintances with Dimitri and David. We hope that they enjoy their visit and look forward to renewing our rugby relationship with them in the future.
John Barrett, Newport RFC History Officer