Georgia’s weak opening weekend showing against Australia was one of the disappointments of the Rugby World Cup and they have had a fortnight to stew ahead of Saturday’s match against Portugal.

Last Saturday’s 28-8 defeat to Wales was a game effort by the Portuguese but they inevitably fell off in the second half as the Welsh’s greater fitness told.

However, their performance was enough to prompt Warren Gatland to suggest they deserve greater opportunities against tier-one nations.

Even so, a smarting Georgian side are sure to fly out of the traps and their superior physicality might prove overwhelming for Os Lobos in Toulouse.

Georgia vs Portugal Prediction

  • Georgia -19.5 handicap @ 11/8
  • Tomos Appleton anytime tryscorer @ 3/1

Team news

Georgian head coach Levan Maisashvili has made four changes to his forward pack, with Mikheil Nariashvili and Beka Gigashvili coming into the front row, Vladimer Chachanidze into the second row and Beka Saginadze into the back row.

He has also made a quartet of alterations to his back-line, with Gela Aprasidze and Tedo Abzhandadze selected in the halves, Alexander Todua on the wing and Giorgi Kveseladze handed his 50th cap at centre. If he comes off the bench, lock Nodar Cheishvili will also reach half a century of appearances.

Portugal boss Patrice Lagisquet will be without winger Vincent Pinto, who was sent off against Wales and is replaced by Raffaele Storti. There is also a change in the midfield with Pedro Bettencourt in for Jose Lima.

Up front, Diogo Hasse Ferreira starts at tighthead prop in place of Anthony Alves and Jose Madeira comes into the second row after being a late withdrawal last weekend.

Georgia -19.5 handicap @ 11/8

The pair most recently met in March, with Georgia running out the 38-11 winners in the final of the Rugby Europe Championship.

Sixteen of their matchday 23 were present for that clash in Badajoz, including four of their five tryscorers – Akaki Tabutsadze, Demur Tapladze, Guram Papidze and Shalva Mamukashvili.

The two have met 24 times since 1997. Portugal won four of the first seven meetings but have struggled since, with their last victory coming in 2005.

Maisashvili admitted after his team’s 35-15 defeat to the Wallabies that they “have a lot of things to analyse” and, having had time to decompress, the coach has been decisive with his changes.

With opposite number Lagisquet obviously anticipating a bruising encounter with his selection of a six-two split on the bench, it would be no surprise to see the Lelos look to bludgeon their way to early success before giving the backs the ball later on.

That suggests it is worth looking for something similar to March and the 11/8 available on the -19.5 handicap appeals.

Tomas Appleton anytime tryscorer @ 3/1

There could be some joy for Portugal and captain Tomas Appleton is a player to look for in the anytime tryscorer market.

The centre, a qualified dentist, scored his country’s only try in March’s Rugby Europe Championship final and impressed against the Welsh.

Appleton impressed with his work on both sides of the ball last Saturday in Nice.

After his strident post-match comments about his team being “not here to just be a presence at the World Cup”, he could again be dangerous when his team heads west to Toulouse.

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