Russia national rugby league team
|Governing body||Russian Rugby League|
|Head coach||Igor Ovchinnikov|
| France 26–6 USSR
(Villeurbanne, France; September 1991)
| Lebanon 0–80 Russia
(Moscow, Russia; 28 September 2008)
| Australia 110–4 Russia
(Hull, England; 4 November 2000)
|Appearances||1 (first time in 2000)|
|Best result||Group Stages, 2000|
The Russia national rugby league team (also known as The Bears) represent Russia in international rugby league tournaments and other rugby league fixtures. The Bears, played their first fixtures against two British club sides: York Wasps and Fulham RLFC. In 2013, Russia became a full member of the Rugby League International Federation.
The Bears played their first overseas match in 1991 against the French national team at the Stade Georges Lyvet, Villeurbanne on Sunday, 27 October 1991. The Bears were beaten 26-6 by France. Later that year, the Bears toured South Africa to play a three-match series against South Africa.
France continued to assist the game in the former Soviet Union by touring in 1993, winning 30-14 in Moscow against the Bears and 34-14 against Moldova.
1994 was the most important year to date for the Bears, marking their first international victory against the USA Tomahawks, in San Francisco. In 1995, Russia competed in the Rugby League Emerging Nations Tournament but only managed to win one game during the tournament, defeating the Americans 28-26.
Overseas teams would not return to Russia until 1998, when a youth tournament was held in Moscow. The Bears would have to wait until 2000 to play another international, when they played France in the lead-up to the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.
The 2000 RLWC provided the Bears with the opportunity to compete with the international heavyweights of rugby league: England and Australia. Also in their group was Fiji, who the Bears played first up in Barrow. Led by Sydney Roosters prop Ian Rubin, who was born in Odessa, Ukraine, the Bears were involved in a tight struggle and it was Fijian captain, winger Lote Tuquri, who proved to be the difference between the two sides, with Fiji winning 38-12. The next two games were against opponents who proved to be beyond the Russians, with two big defeats at the hands of the English national team and a record 110-4 defeat by the Australians.
In 2002, Russia hosted Moscow's first rugby league international. The match was shown in full on national television, and was the first rugby league international to be played on artificial turf. Their opponents, the USA Tomahawks, were outclassed by the Bears to the tune of 54-10, in front of a crowd bordering 30,000.
The Russian side went on a four-match tour of New Zealand's south island in 2004.
In 2006, Russia were involved in Europe Round One, defeating Netherlands national rugby league team and Serbia national rugby league team to finish second and keep their World Cup dream alive. They then went through to Europe Round Two in Europe Pool Two with Ireland and Lebanon. Russia lost all 4 games against them and did not qualify on those grounds. Ireland qualified as group winners to go through to the 2008 World Cup, with the runner up Lebanon entering the Repecharge round.
In 2010, after a year out of competition, the Bears competed in the Rugby League European Shield, topping the table after wins against Ukraine and Latvia.
In 2011 Russia were involved in the European qualifying group that featured Russia themselves, Italy, Serbia, and Lebanon. They lost both of their games against Italy and Lebanon ultimately ending their dreams for a second world cup tournament. On the flip side, Russia beat Serbia to finish third in the group, resulting in the Bears avoiding a winless qualifying campaign.
In 2012-2013, the Bears competed in the Rugby League European Shield winning five games out of six to take the shield.
Russia participated in the qualification for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. The first stage of qualifying involved having to finish in the top 3 in their 2014–15 European Shield competition. Russia qualified for the 'final qualification tournament' after finishing the European Shield in second position. In the final round of qualification, Russia took on Spain at Fili Stadium in Moscow, and Ireland in Bray, in a bid to qualify for their second World Cup appearance.
- For all past and present players who have appeared for the national team, see Russia national rugby league team players.
The following players were called up for the Russian team in 2015:
|2015 Russia Squad|
|First team squad||Coaching staff|
Updated: 24 May 2015
Russia has participated in:
- Emerging Nations Tournament (1995)
- World Cup (2000)
- World Sevens (1992 as the "Red Arrows", 1994-2003)
- Victory Cup (2003, 2004)
Below is table of the official representative rugby league matches played by Russia at test level up until 2012:
|Team||First Played||Played||Win||Draw||Loss||Last Meeting|
Results and fixtures
- For all past match results, see the team's results page.
|Official Rankings as of November 2016|
|15||Papua New Guinea|
- Russia def. Ukraine 24-18 (24 May 2014) (European Championship B)
- Russia def. Germany 30-0 (August 10, 2013) RLEF European Shield
- Italy def. Russia 38-18 (29 June 2013) RLEF European Shield
- Russia def. Serbia 24-10 (May 25, 2013) RLEF European Shield
- Russia def. Serbia 21-20 (September 22, 2012) RLEF European Shield
- Russia def. Italy 32-18 (8 September 2012) RLEF European Shield
- Russia def. Germany 32-26 (19 May 2012) RLEF European Shield
- Italy def. Russia 92-6 (15 October 2011) 2013 Rugby League World Cup qualifying, Europe Division
- Russia def. Ukraine 34-6 (10 September 2011)
- Russia def. Latvia 54-4 (31 July 2010) European Shield West
- Russia def. Ukraine 64-14 (27 June 2010) European Shield West
- Russia def. Lebanon 80-0 (September 28, 2008) RLEF Euro Med Challenge
- Russia def. Serbia 30-4 (September 20, 2008) RLEF Euro Med Challenge
- Lebanon def. Russia 48-0 (27 October 2007)
- Ireland def. Russia 58-18 (20 October 2007)
- Lebanon def. Russia 22-8 (28 October 2006)
- Ireland def. Russia 50-12(22 October 2006)
- Russia def. Serbia 44-6 (4 June 2006)
- Russia def. Netherlands 40-14 (28 April 2006)
- France def. Russia 80-0 (15 October 2005)
- England A def. Russia (24 October 2004)
- France def. Russia 58-10 (16 October 2004)
- Russia def. Ireland 64-6 (16 May 2004)
- Russia def. USA 64-8 (12 May 2004)
- England A def. Russia 102-0 (2 November 2003)
- Wales def. Russia 74-4 (26 October 2003)
- France def. Russia 29-12 (9 May 2003)
- Russia def. USA 44-12 (6 May 2003)
- Russia def. USA 54-10 (13 September 2002)
- Australia def. Russia 110-4 (4 November 2000) 2000 Rugby League World Cup
- England def. Russia 76-4 (1 November 2000) 2000 Rugby League World Cup
- Fiji def. Russia 38-12 (29 October 2000) 2000 Rugby League World Cup
- France def. Russia 82-0 (3 July 2000)
- Russia def. USA 28-26 (20 October 1995)
- Cook Islands def. Russia 58-4 (18 October 1995)
- Scotland def. Russia 34-9 (16 October 1995)
- Russia def. USA 19-12 (1994)
- France def. Russia 30-14 (1993)
COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES (CIS):
- CIS def. South Africa 22-19 (1992)
- CIS def. South Africa 30-26 (1992)
- France def. CIS 38-4 (1992)
- France def. CIS 28-8 (1992)
SOVIET UNION (USSR):
- France def. USSR 26-6 (1991)
- Rugby league in Russia
- Russia women's national rugby league team
- Victory Cup
- European Nations Cup
- Emerging Nations Tournament
- World Cup