Georgia’s rugby stalwart Giorgi Nemsadze signs with top English club

Georgia's national team lock Giorgi Nemsadze has signed with British club Bristol Rugby. Photo from Harry Engels/Getty Images., 26 Jul 2016 - 15:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia's national rugby team forward Giorgi Nemsadze has become the country’s second player to sign with a top tier British club rugby team.

Nemsadze signed with Bristol Rugby club – a team that had been recently promoted into the top tier competition.

The new deal was announced by the British side yesterday and the contract means the Georgian will transfer from French second-tier club side Tarbes to play in England's Aviva Premiership.

With the move, the 31-year-old second row lock will follow in the footsteps of another of Georgia’s national players Jaba Bregvadze, who signed with the Aviva Premiership team Worcester Warriors last year.

With 62 appearances for the Lelos, Nemsadze was sought by the English club for his experience and physical strength.

The 120kg lock was welcomed by his new club with a tweet on Monday:

Bristol Rugby head of recruitment and talent identification Alan Martinovic told reporters he had been in contact with Georgia’s head coach Milton Haig about Nemsadze and his compatibility with the English club and the championship.

I spoke to Milton Haig, the Georgia head coach, and he was very fulsome in his praise of Giorgi and thought he would really do well in the Premiership. He only recently played at the World Cup against some top teams so although he hasn't been playing at the top level in France, his Test record speaks for itself and he has played his best rugby in the last couple of years," said Martinovic while commenting on the transfer.

Born in Georgia's third largest city Kutaisi, Nemsadze played for local team Aia before moving to France at the age of 22.

The Lelos' lock then spent six years playing for third-tier teams Domont, Massy, Montauban and Valence d'Agen before moving to second-tier Tarbes in 2012.

The Georgian spent the last four seasons at Tarbes, making 86 appearances for the club.

See video highlights of Giorgi Nemsadze's national team appearances below:

Meanwhile at national level representing Georiga, Nemsadze earned his first Lelos cap against Chile in 2005 and played at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup tournaments.

He has been an integral part of the Georgian side since 2008, appearing in three of the national team's four matches in last year's Rugby World Cup in England.

Bristol Rugby was promoted to the Aviva Premiership, the top tier of English national rugby championship, following their successful 2015-2016 season.

The club will begin preparing for the upcoming season with a trip to play the Worcester Warriors on August 18.