Georgia Rugby
Fitzpatrick takes Georgia role
ESPNscrum Staff
January 29, 2011
Sean Fitzpatrick holds up a shirt agreeing to an advisory role with Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia, January 29, 2011
Sean Fitzpatrick holds up a Georgia shirt at a press conference in Tbilisi © Getty Images
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Former All Black skipper Sean Fitzpatrick will act as an advisor to the Georgia national side ahead of their participation in the World Cup in the autumn.

Fitzpatrick, who captained the All Blacks in the 1990s and won 92 caps for New Zealand, will take on an advisory role to the national team as well as acting as an ambassador in a bid to develop the game in the country which was formerly part of the Soviet Union.

"What I'd like to try and achieve is to make a nation like Georgia more competitive on the world stage," Fitzpatrick told a news conference in Tbilisi.

Georgia qualified for their third successive World Cup after winning the 2009 European Nations Cup. And they aim to use the 2011 campaign to continue to build the game.

"Sean's help and fresh ideas will increase the possibilities for Georgian rugby," said the president of the Georgian Rugby Union, Giorgi Nijaradze.

"It's a sign of how rugby is developing in Georgia that someone of the stature of Sean is willing to come here, and his experience is going to be of immeasurable value," said the national team's Scottish coach, Richie Dixon.

Fitzpatrick was impressed by Georgia's performances in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and is relishing the challenge of developing the game away from one of rugby's traditional superpowers.

"What I saw was a country that has a whole lot of passion and commitment," he said. "It would have been very easy for me to stay in England or New Zealand but I think it's important to grow the game."

Georgia have been drawn in a group with Argentina, England, Scotland and Romania for the World Cup, which begins in September.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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