Honors: (1) European Nations Cup
The team's nickname, The Lelos, comes from lelo, an indigenous Georgian sport with strong similarities to rugby. Lelo has been adopted as the Georgian word for "try" (the highest-valued score in rugby). One standard cheer of Georgian rugby union fans is Lelo, Lelo, Sakartvelo (Try, Try, Georgia).
The Lelos participate in the European Nations Cup, which is a second-level competition for European national teams. Famously the Georgians, lacking the resources of the major nations, made scrum machines from old Soviet tractors. There are only eight rugby pitches and three hundred adult players. The bulk of the national squad are based in France, in the lower divisions, having been sent there to improve their rugby skills and facilitate their development by coach Claude Saurel.
Rugby union is one of the most popular sports in Georgia. The Georgian national sevens team became the first national side from Georgia to compete in a major tournament, playing in the IRB Sevens World Cup in Argentina. However, the full national team would go onto qualify for the 2003 Rugby World Cup - playing against rugby powers such as South Africa and England. In 2006 the Lelos qualified for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, they beat Portugal in Play off 28-14
On April 23, 2004, a few months after a popular revolt replaced the government and altered the national symbols, a new national anthem was adopted. The music was taken from the Georgian operas 'Abesalom da Eteri' and 'Daisi' by the Georgian composer Zakaria Paliashvili, and were composed into an anthem by Joseb Ketschakmadse.
Chemi khatia samshoblo,
Sakhate mteli kveqana,
Tavisupleba dghes chveni
Momavals umghers didebas,
Amodis tsiskris varskvlavi
Da or zghvas shua brtsqindeba.
My icon is my motherland,
And icon-stand is whole world.
Bright mounts and valleys
Are shared with God
Today our freedom
Sings to the glory of future,
The dawn star rises up
And shines out between two seas.
Praise be to the liberty,
Praise be to the liberty!
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