Georgia: The Georgian 32-man squad was not released until recently due to some last minute availability talks. The squad will feature arguably the greatest Tier 2 player ever, Mamuka Gorgodze (photo) and top France-based prop Khasivilli. As usual the team will be tough in the forwards but if there has been progress in backline play then they will a tough to deal with.
Russia: Unlike their fellow ENC teams, Russia actually possess a dynamic backline. The questions for the 30-man squad? Will the forwards show up? And will they be able to combine their backs? If they can get the ball to players like Leinster Academy graduate Vasily Artemyev (photo), they will cause their opponents fits and win games.
Portugal: While the other European nations are hosting matches, Portugal will be on the road facing fellow Tier 3 members Chile and Uruguay. The 26-man squad will feature a few of the players from the 2007 RWC side, including captain Vasco Uva, (scrum cap) that the world fell in love with despite having no professionals and not winning a game. The Portugese have managed to focus on skill, handling and ball movement to stay competitive however their ability in the tight will be tested by the hosts.
Chile: The mighty Condors will be looking to garner respect by taking on the more recognized sides of Uruguay and Portugal. Chile is ranked 3rd in South America, behind Argentina and Uruguay. With the Chilean summer not quiet over, they will look to remain tight and physical and slowly wear down their opponents. The 26-man squad will look to put up a quality fight against quality competition at home.
Uruguay: Often seen as Argentina’s little brother, the Uruguayans are fighting to create an identity of their own. Their side narrowly lost to Argentina in the American Rugby Championship, and they are playing a mix of the Argentine physicality and direct play, but with more willingness to try and go wide. The 28-man squad will get a chance to claim some respectable scalps and move more toward being recognized as a legit rugby nation of their own.
Here is a look at the Full Fall Test Schedule including referee assignments (Paging Cody!!) for those of you that were curious.
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