Levan Maisashvili admits he 'died twice' during battle with Covid-19

EXCLUSIVE: ‘My doctors said I had a one per cent chance of surviving – I died twice’: Georgia rugby coach Levan Maisashvili on his miraculous recovery from Covid last year and hopes it inspires his players ahead of clash against Italy

  • Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvili has opened up on his battle with Covid-19
  • Maisashvili admits he ‘died twice’ during his fight with the virus last summer
  • His doctors believed he only had a one per cent chance of surviving the illness
  • But ‘the phoenix’ has come through the other side after rising from his deathbed
  • Georgia players can take inspiration from the recovery against Italy on Sunday 

Here in Georgia, they call Levan Maisashvili ‘the phoenix’ after his miraculous recovery from Covid-19 and the verge of death in South Africa last summer.

‘I was definitely dead. I died twice,’ Maisashvili says matter of fact, before his lips break into a wry smile.

‘My doctors said I had a one per cent chance of surviving. No-one was waiting for me.’

The Georgia head coach continues: ‘God saved me. I now live differently. My life is much better. I don’t worry about small or stupid things which I thought were important before.

Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvili has opened up on his battle with Covid-19 last summer

‘Life is so short. I spent one month in a coma. I was 60 kilos. I was like a vegetable. I was just nothing.

‘Day by day, step by step, I was fighting. Not only did I survive, I came back.

‘Everyone thought I would quit my job after a year out but I came back in September and in the middle of October, I was coach. They thought I was crazy – but I did it and that’s the example I want to set for my players. Never give up. My experience taught me anything is achievable.

‘You just have to set a target and with power and resilience, you can achieve absolutely anything.’

Maisashvili tested positive for coronavirus after his team faced the Springboks 12 months ago and fell gravely ill. Staring certain death in the face, his family were ready for the worst.

Then, he rose from his deathbed.

Georgia’s players will take inspiration from their coach’s story when they face Italy in Batumi on Sunday. The game is a huge one for The Lelos.

Maisashvili admits he ‘died twice’ after falling in with the virus while out in South Africa

His miraculous recovery will serve as inspiration for his Georgia players against Italy


Maisashvili and his players want the chance to join the Six Nations.

Beating the Championship’s traditional whipping boys would be a big statement that they deserve that opportunity.

Rugby is Georgia’s national sport and is growing in popularity year on year.

‘The Italy game is a good opportunity for us to play against a Six Nations team and a tier-one country. We only have these opportunities once or twice a year,’ Maisashvili says.

‘Every year we have a maximum of 11 games. It’s not enough for us. We are a small country, but we will try to show we can play very good rugby. I think we can challenge the best teams.’

Georgia are the best side in Rugby Europe – the division below the Six Nations.

Many believe there should be a promotion and relegation clash each year between the team which finishes bottom of the Six Nations and the side which tops Rugby Europe.

His team are currently the best side in Rugby Europe – the division below the Six Nations

Such a scenario would often pair Italy and Georgia together, as they will be this weekend.

A huge crowd will be in attendance as Georgia rugby looks to continue to grow the game’s appeal by taking the game to Batumi on the Black Sea coast instead of the capital, Tbilisi.

‘We’re not showing our maximum yet. We need time and big games,’ Maisashvili adds.

‘Step by step, we can play much better.’

Italy is Georgia’s next step and a big one for them.

They must seize their chance to produce a statement victory.

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