Russia national rugby union team

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Russia
Rugby Union of Russia.svg
Union Rugby Union of Russia
Nickname(s) Bears
Coach(es) Raphaël Saint-André
Captain(s) Alexander Voytov
Most caps Andrey Kuzin (78)
Top scorer Yury Kushnarev (351)
Team kit
Change kit
First international
Barbarians 23 – 27 Russia 
(6 June 1992)
 Belgium 11 – 17 Russia 
(11 Oct 1992)
Largest win
 Denmark 7 – 104 Russia 
(13 May 2000)
Largest defeat
 Russia 3 – 75 Japan 
(6 November 2010)
World Cup
Appearances (First in 2011)
Best result 2011 - 5th in group

The Russia national rugby union team is the national team representing Russia in the sport of rugby union.

Rugby union in Russia is administered by the Rugby Union of Russia (RUR). The RUR is the official successor union of the Soviet Union and the combined CIS team which played in the early 1990s. Since 1992, the team has played as Russia.

Russia is seen as a Tier 2 union by the International Rugby Board (IRB).[1] The team's regular international competition is in the European Nations Cup (ENC) Division 1A – often referred to as the Six Nations B. In addition, the team participates in IRB-run summer tournaments - the Nations Cup in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012, the Churchill Cup in 2010 and 2011, and the IRB's International Rugby Series in Colwyn Bay in 2012.

Russia competed in their first Rugby World Cup (RWC) in New Zealand in 2011 after qualifying as Europe 2 through their second place finish in the 2009–10 ENC. Russia played in Pool C and finished fifth, scoring one point. Previous qualification campaigns saw elimination to Portugal ahead of the 2007 tournament and expulsion from 2003 qualifying for breaches of eligibility rules. The team also unsuccessfully attempted to qualify for the 1999 and 1995 Rugby World Cups.

History[edit]

Georgia v. Russia, 24 March 2007

The Rugby Union of the Soviet Union was founded in 1936, although the national side did not play its first official international until 1974.

The Soviet Union took time to establish itself, but by the mid-1980s was regularly beating the likes of Italy and Romania. The team was invited to the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, but declined on political grounds, not least the continued IRB membership of apartheid South Africa.[2]

Following the break up of the USSR, Russian players played for the interim Commonwealth of Independent States team, which played four matches during 1991 and 1992.

The first game played by the new Russian national team took place on June 6, 1992, when Russia beat the Barbarians 27–23. Russia's first game against a full IRB member was versus Belgium four months later in the 1992/4 FIRA-AER European Trophy. That edition of the tournament saw Russia secure its first, and to-date only, win over Georgia. Russia continued to participate until realignment of FIRA-AER competitions in 2000.

The Russian national side has since played its regular competitive rugby in FIRA-AER's European Nations Cup, the second level mirror tournament to the Six Nations. Russia replaced Morroco in the top tier in 2001 after a team-record nine-game win streak and have stayed there ever since. The Russian side has yet to win the title, but has come close with second place finishes twice, in the 2009 and the 2007-8 editions. It also secured second place in the 2009–10 combined table used in Rugby World Cup qualification.

In addition, as part of attempts to secure regular international fixtures the team has played in the now-defunct Superpowers Cup, winning the tournament once, the Nations Cup, the Churchill Cup, and most recently the IRB's International Rugby Series. The Russian side has also played representative teams including England Counties, France's equivalent side, South African Super Rugby youth and university sides, and New Zealand club teams as it seeks to vary and improve the quality of opposition.

The RUR has been attempting to gain greater participation in the autumn test window, and is now being integrated into the IRB's global test match schedule.[1]

Rugby World Cup[edit]

World Cup record[edit]

World Cup record World Cup Qualification record
Year Round P W D L F A P W D L F A
AustraliaNew Zealand 1987 Declined invitation -
United KingdomIrelandFrance 1991 Did not enter Did not enter
South Africa 1995 Did not qualify 4 3 0 1 125 49
Wales 1999 4 1 0 3 85 92
Australia 2003 6 5 0 1 176 114
France 2007 14 6 1 7 382 323
New Zealand 2011 Pool Stage 4 0 0 4 57 196 10 7 1 2 291 175
England 2015 Did not qualify 12 7 0 5 269 300
Japan 2019 To be determined - - - - - -
Total 1/7 4 0 0 4 57 196 50 29 2 19 1328 1053

2015[edit]

The Russian national rugby union team is currently engaged in European qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, set to take place in England.

Qualified as Europe 1
Qualified as Europe 2
Qualified for Round 6


Place
Nation
Games Points Bonus
points
Table
points
played won drawn lost for against difference
1  Georgia (17) 7 6 1 0 204 70 +134 2 28
2  Romania (19) 7 6 1 0 172 68 +104 2 28
3  Russia (20) 7 4 0 3 141 175 -34 2 18
4  Spain (18) 7 1 2 4 108 163 -55 2 10
5  Portugal (22) 7 1 1 5 84 154 -70 1 7
6  Belgium (21) 7 0 1 6 98 177 -79 4 6

Pre-tournament IRB rankings in parentheses

2011[edit]

Russia qualified for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand as Europe 2 after finishing second in the 2008–10 ENC. This marked the team's debut, with Russia becoming the 25th side to play at the tournament, where they faced Australia, Ireland, Italy and the United States in Group C of the tournament.[3]

Despite losing all four of their games, most disappointingly a narrow defeat to the USA in its opening fixture in which the Bears scored a bonus point, Russia's debut was generally viewed as a success, as the team scored the most tries (8) by a debutant in the professional era and the most since Western Samoa in 1991, and becoming the first side to score three tries against Australia in a World Cup match since 1987.

Team Pld W D L PF PA BP Pts
 Ireland 4 4 0 0 135 34 1 17
 Australia 4 3 0 1 173 48 3 15
 Italy 4 2 0 2 92 95 2 10
 United States 4 1 0 3 38 122 0 4
 Russia 4 0 0 4 57 196 1 1
Match Results
Date Opponent Score Venue
15-Sep-2011  United States 6-13 Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth
20-Sep-2011  Italy 17-53 Trafalgar Park, Nelson
25-Sep-2011  Ireland 12-62 International Stadium, Rotorua
1-Oct-2011  Australia 22-68 Trafalgar Park, Nelson

Previous qualifying attempts[edit]

In 2007 Rugby World Cup qualifying, Russia came through European qualifying to a mini-group stage where they were pooled with Italy and Portugal. The winner would qualify directly and the second place team would continue the qualification process, with the third-placed team eliminated. After both losing heavily to Italy, Portugal and Russia met to determine progression to qualifying round 5. Russia lost the match, played in Lisbon, 26–23 and dropped out.

The Russian national side was expelled from qualifying for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, due to eligibility issues. Spain, who Russia had beaten in qualifying, protested the fielding of three South African-born players (Johan Hendriks, Reiner Volschenck and Werner Pieterse), who the RUR claimed had qualified through ancestry. However, the RUR did not produce documentation deemed acceptable by the IRB, and Spain were re-instated in qualification in Russia's place.[4]

In European qualifying for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, Russia finished fourth in Pool 1 in Round B, which was not enough to progress from a group also including Italy, Georgia, Croatia, and Denmark.

In qualifying for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first in which the national side was involved, Russia came through preliminary qualifying with wins over Poland and Georgia, before beating Germany but losing to Romania for the Eastern Europe spot.

The Soviet Rugby Union was not an IRB member in time for qualifying for the 1991 Rugby World Cup and declined to take up its invite to take part in the 1987 tournament on the basis of the IRB membership by apartheid South Africa.[5]

European Competition[edit]

Russia's primary international competition is the European Nations Cup, administered by FIRA-AER and played, by-and-large, during the Six Nations international release window. This competition replaced previous FIRA Trophy, which ran until Italy left to join the then Five Nations tournament. Russia won the inaugural Division 2 competition, winning promotion to the Top Tier in 2000, where they have remained ever since.

Since realignment, Russia has secured two runners-up spots and three third place finishes, in doing so claiming the third-highest number of wins, the third-highest win percentage, and the third-lowest number of losses, in each case placing below Georgia and Romania.

As the Soviet Union, the side secured four straight silvers (all behind France and ahead of Italy and Romania) during the 1980s, and a further three bronzes.

Current Players[edit]

Russia has fielded a number of new players since RWC 2011 as it seeks to bed in younger players ahead of qualifying for RWC 2015 and in response to injuries to a large number of core players. Therefore a number of prominent players for the national team did not feature in the team's most recent squad - that for the 2013 European Nations Cup.

Russia has traditionally fielded squads consisting near-entirely of players from its own professional league, but as players gain exposure, several foreign-based have represented their country, including Northampton Saints winger Vasily Artemyev, the first Russian to play in the Aviva Premiership, and Sale Sharks locks Andrey Ostrikov, and Kirill Kulemin.

Former Melbourne Rebels lock Adam Byrnes, who qualifies for Russia through maternal lineage, is the only foreign-born player to have played for the Bears in recent years.

Current Squad[edit]

Russia's 32-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup Repechage qualification match against Uruguay.[6]

Head Coach: France Raphaël Saint-André

  • Caps Updated: 6 October 2014


Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by the World Rugby.

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
Vladislav Korshunov Hooker (1983-03-13) 13 March 1983 (age 31) 68 Russia VVA Saracens
Stanislav Selskiy Hooker (1991-09-02) 2 September 1991 (age 23) 5 Russia Yenisey-STM
Valery Tsnobiladze Hooker (1980-11-03) 3 November 1980 (age 34) 32 Russia Krasny Yar
Andrei Igretsov Prop (1985-12-23) 23 December 1985 (age 28) 19 Russia Slava Moscow
Evgeni Pronenko Prop (1984-06-06) 6 June 1984 (age 30) 37 Russia Yenisey-STM
Sergey Sekisov Prop (1986-11-19) 19 November 1986 (age 28) 6 Russia VVA Saracens
Grigory Tsnobiladze Prop (1983-01-02) 2 January 1983 (age 31) 20 Russia Krasny Yar
Innokenty Zykov Prop (1981-05-25) 25 May 1981 (age 33) 22 Russia Yenisey-STM
Maxim Kiselev Lock (1984-05-08) 8 May 1984 (age 30) 1 Russia Krasny Yar
Kirill Kulemin Lock (1980-10-13) 13 October 1980 (age 34) 32 France Perpignan
Ivan Sysoev Lock (1988-06-30) 30 June 1988 (age 26) 0 Russia Krasny Yar
Alexander Voytov (c) Lock (1981-12-07) 7 December 1981 (age 33) 73 Russia VVA Saracens
Pavel Butenko Flanker (1987-05-11) 11 May 1987 (age 27) 27 Russia Yenisey-STM
Andrei Garbuzov Flanker (1983-08-07) 7 August 1983 (age 31) 59 Russia Krasny Yar
Andrei Ostrikov Flanker (1987-07-02) 2 July 1987 (age 27) 21 England Sale Sharks
Andrei Temnov Flanker (1983-01-01) 1 January 1983 (age 31) 40 Russia Yenisey-STM
Vitaly Zhivatov Flanker (1990-02-13) 13 February 1990 (age 24) 0 Russia VVA Saracens
Viktor Gresev Number 8 (1986-03-31) 31 March 1986 (age 28) 62 Russia Krasny Yar
Alexey Shcherban Scrum-half (1990-11-17) 17 November 1990 (age 24) 16 Russia Yenisey-STM
Ruslan Yagudin Scrum-half (1987-03-29) 29 March 1987 (age 27) 2 Russia Krasny Yar
Alexander Yanyushkin Scrum-half (1982-10-30) 30 October 1982 (age 32) 68 Russia VVA Saracens
Yuri Kushnarev Fly-half (1985-06-06) 6 June 1985 (age 29) 65 Russia Yenisey-STM
Sergey Sugrobov Fly-half (1983-02-15) 15 February 1983 (age 31) 23 Russia Slava Moscow
Vasily Artemyev Centre (1987-07-24) 24 July 1987 (age 27) 47 Russia Krasny Yar
Mikhail Babaev Centre (1986-01-19) 19 January 1986 (age 28) 50 Russia VVA Saracens
Dimitry Gerasimov Centre (1988-04-16) 16 April 1988 (age 26) 29 Russia Yenisey-STM
Alexei Makovetskiy Centre (1983-03-27) 27 March 1983 (age 31) 43 Russia Krasny Yar
Igor Galinovskiy Wing (1985-09-08) 8 September 1985 (age 29) 31 Russia Krasny Yar
Igor Klyuchnikov Wing (1983-01-07) 7 January 1983 (age 31) 67 Russia VVA Saracens
Vladimir Ostroushko Wing (1986-09-30) 30 September 1986 (age 28) 36 Russia Kuban Krasnodar
Denis Simplikevich Wing (1991-03-11) 11 March 1991 (age 23) 10 Russia Yenisey-STM
Ilya Dyomushkin Fullback (1986-01-23) 23 January 1986 (age 28) 0 Russia VVA Saracens
Ramil Gaisin Fullback (1991-07-26) 26 July 1991 (age 23) 7 Russia Yenisey-STM

Coaching staff[edit]

Former Wales flanker Kingsley Jones oversees elite performance. He is assisted by Backs Coach and former Tonga international Siua Taumalolo and Forwards Coach and former Wales and British and Irish Lions prop Darren Morris.

Before taking over as head coach, Jones served as National Teams Director alongside then Head Coach (and coach of VVA-Podmoskovye) Nikolay Nerush, taking over in that role from alongside current Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond. Nerush retired following the team's exit from Rugby World Cup 2011, following three years in charge. He replaced former Georgia Coach Claude Saurel, who quit in objection to the 2008 conflict in South Ossetia.

Coaching staff
Name
With Backs Forwards Dates
France Raphaël Saint-André France Laurent Seigne 2014-
Wales Kingsley Jones Tonga Siua Taumalolo Wales Darren Morris 2011-2014
Russia Nikolay Nerush Wales Kingsley Jones New Zealand Henry Paul Wales Darren Morris 2010-2011
Russia Nikolay Nerush England Steve Diamond England Jos Baxendell England Steve Diamond 2008-2010
France Claude Saurel 2008
Russia Alexander Pervukhin 2006-2008

Home grounds[edit]

The Russian rugby team has no fixed national stadium at present, although Central Stadium in Sochi is currently serving that function in interim.

Russia has hosted international fixtures at a number of venues around the country. These include the rugby hotbed of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, where the national side played its first full test against a foundation union, versus Ireland in 2002. Other games have been played in Moscow, normally at Slava Stadium in the city centre, Penza, and most recently at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Sochi was selected as a case of convenience, as climatic conditions in other venues have proved too severe to guarantee playability during the ENC's February–March window. Support in Sochi is minimal and it is hoped that the completion of a stadium for the VVA-Podmoskovye club in Monino, Moscow region, with full undersoil heating will allow international fixtures to be played closer to Russian rugby's support bases. Sports Minister Vitaliy Mutko has promised this will be completed by 2013.

Recent results[edit]

The following table shows the results of the Russian national team in official test matches during the previous 20 matches.

Date Opponent Opp Rank Result Venue Attend Event Top RUS Scorer
22-06-2014  Uruguay 20 L (6-13) Romania Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? IRB Nations Cup ???
18-06-2014  Romania 17 L (20-18) Romania Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? IRB Nations Cup Gaysin (8)
13-06-2014 Emerging Ireland N/A L (66-0) Romania Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? IRB Nations Cup N/A
24-05-2014  Germany 24 W (20-31) Germany Wolfgang-Meyer-Sportanlage ??? 2015 RWC qualifying Kushnarev (11)
15-03-2014  Belgium 29 W (20-34) Belgium King Baudouin Stadium ??? European Nations Cup ???
08-03-2014  Portugal 21 W (34-18) Russia Sochi Central Stadium ??? European Nations Cup ???
22-02-2014  Georgia 16 L (36-10) Georgia (country) Dinamo Arena 54,827 European Nations Cup ???
08-02-2014  Romania 17 L (3-34) Russia Gazprom Yamal Health Resort ??? European Nations Cup ???
01-02-2014  Spain 21 W (25-28) Spain Estadio Nacional Complutense ??? European Nations Cup ???
23-11-2013  United States 18 L (7-28) England Allianz Park ??? end-of-year tests Garbuzov (5)
16-11-2013  Japan 14 L (13-40) Wales Eirias Park 1,250 end-of-year tests Gaisin (8)
10-11-2013 Oxford University N/A W (24-31) England Oxford University ??? end-of-year tests Gaisin (6)
16-06-2013 Argentina Argentina Jaguars N/A L (30-17) Romania Stadionul Arcul de Triumf 6,000 IRB Nations Cup Kushnarev (7)
12-06-2013  Italy A N/A L (19-27) Romania Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? IRB Nations Cup Kushnarev (14)
08-06-2013  Romania 18 L (30-20) Romania Stadionul Arcul de Triumf 1,000 IRB Nations Cup Kushnarev (15)
16-03-2013  Belgium 24 W (43-32) Russia Sochi Central Stadium ??? European Nations Cup ???
09-03-2013  Portugal 21 W (23-31) Portugal Estádio Universitário de Lisboa ??? European Nations Cup ???
23-02-2013  Georgia 17 L (9-23) Russia Sochi Central Stadium ??? European Nations Cup ???
09-02-2013  Romania 18 L (29-14) Romania Stadionul Arcul de Triumf 2,500 European Nations Cup ???
02-02-2013  Spain 18 W (13-9) Russia Sochi Central Stadium 400 European Nations Cup ???

IRB World Rankings[edit]

Top 25 Rankings as 1 December 2014[7]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  New Zealand 93.70
2 Steady  South Africa 88.23
3 Steady  Ireland 85.48
4 Steady  England 84.85
5 Steady  Australia 82.95
6 Steady  Wales 81.64
7 Steady  France 79.66
8 Steady  Scotland 78.78
9 Steady  Argentina 78.23
10 Steady  Samoa 75.39
11 Steady  Japan 74.70
12 Steady  Fiji 74.57
13 Steady  Tonga 74.12
14 Steady  Italy 71.19
15 Steady  Georgia 70.76
16 Steady  United States 67.61
17 Steady  Romania 67.38
18 Steady  Canada 66.83
19 Steady  Russia 64.12
20 Steady  Uruguay 63.58
21 Steady  Spain 60.65
22 Steady  Portugal 58.56
23 Steady  Namibia 58.27
24 Steady  South Korea 57.22
25 Steady  Germany 56.32
*Change from the previous week
Russia's Historical Rankings
Russia IRB World Rankings.png
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 6 October 2014[7]

On introduction of the IRB World Rankings in October 2003, Russia was ranked 23rd. Since then the team's lowest ranking was 26 (most recently in October 2005). The team has been an ever-present in the top 20 since June 2006, peaking at 16 on several occasions (most recently in February 2010). As of February 22, 2013, Russia is ranked 20th.[8]

Overall Record[edit]

Team Mat Won Lost Draw  %
Argentina Argentina Jaguars 4 0 4 0 0.00
 Australia 1 0 1 0 0.00
Barbarians 1 1 0 0 100.00
 Belgium 3 3 0 0 100.00
 Canada 3 0 3 0 0.00
 Croatia 2 1 1 0 50.00
 Czech Republic 8 6 2 0 75.00
 Denmark 3 3 0 0 100.00
England England Saxons 2 0 2 0 0.00
 France A 2 0 2 0 0.00
 Georgia 17 1 15 1 5.88
 Germany 5 5 0 0 100.00
 Ireland 2 0 2 0 0.00
 Italy 4 0 4 0 0.00
 Italy A 6 0 6 0 0.00
 Japan 4 1 3 0 25.00
 Morocco 3 2 1 0 66.67
 Namibia 3 3 0 0 100.00
 Netherlands 4 4 0 0 100.00
 Norway 1 1 0 0 100.00
 Poland 4 4 0 0 100.00
 Portugal 15 9 5 1 63.33
 Romania 16 5 10 1 34.36
 Spain 16 13 3 0 81.25
 Tunisia 2 2 0 0 100.00
 Ukraine 9 9 0 0 100.00
 United States 6 1 5 0 16.67
 Uruguay 4 3 1 0 75.00
Total 146 75 69 3 52.40
  • Correct as of June 12, 2013 (after Italy game)
  • Russia only, no Soviet results included[9]

Individual records[edit]

Top points scorers[edit]

  • Yury Kushnarev: 380
  • Konstantin Rachkov: 347

Most points in a Match[edit]

Konstantin Rachkov 29 (vs. Germany, 2000)

Top try scorers[edit]

Viatcheslav Grachev 31 Andrey Kuzin 24

Most caps[edit]

  • Andrey Kuzin: 78
  • Alexander Khrokin: 76
  • Viatcheslav Grachev: 74

[10]

Updated as of June 12, 2013 (post-Italy game). Russia only, no Soviet results included

Other international teams[edit]

Sevens[edit]

Russia also has a Rugby Sevens team, which competes in several rounds each year on the IRB World Sevens Series (WSS) and in the FIRA-AER Grand Prix Sevens (GPS) circuit, with Moscow hosting the second leg. The Sevens team has recorded wins against Tier 1 nations and recorded their first top 8 finish at the 2011 Hong Kong Sevens and a Bowl win in Glasgow in 2012. The team is two-time European Champion (2007 and 2009), making it the second most successful team at that tournament.

Women[edit]

Russia's Women field national rugby union teams in both fifteens, where it appeared at the Women's Rugby World Cup in 1994 and 1998 as Russia and in 1991 as the USSR, and in sevens, which took part in the first Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009 and which contests the IRB Women's Sevens World Series.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.irb.com/newsmedia/mediazone/pressrelease/newsid=2036531.html
  2. ^ RUR Team Media Guide RWC11
  3. ^ "Official RWC 2011 Site". RugbyWorldCup.com. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  4. ^ http://www.ferugby.com/noticias.htm
  5. ^ Rugby Union of Russia Official Team Media Guide for RWC11
  6. ^ Состав сборной России по регби для подготовки к матчу против Уругвая
  7. ^ a b "World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  8. ^ http://www.irb.com/rankings/full.html
  9. ^ extrapolated from RUR official Team Media Guide RWC 2011
  10. ^ extrapolated from RUR Official Team Media Guide RWC 2011

External links[edit]