Russia national rugby union team

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Russia
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Bears
Emblem Russian bear
Union Rugby Union of Russia
Head coach Alexander Pervukhin
Captain Alexander Voytov
Most caps Victor Gresev (81)
Top scorer Yury Kushnarev (568)
Top try scorer Andrei Kuzin (26)
Home stadium Sochi Central Stadium
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current 19 (as of 6 March 2016)
Highest 16 (2012)
Lowest 26 (2005)
First international
Romania 34 - 6 Russia
(Bucharest, Romania; 10 May 1992)
Biggest win
Denmark 7 – 104 Russia
(Copenhagen, Denmark; 13 May 2000)
Biggest defeat
Japan 75 – 3 Russia
(Tokyo, Japan; 6 November 2010)
World Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 2011)
Best result Pool stage, 2011
Website www.rugby.ru

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 World Rugby.[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 breakup 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
Total 1/7 4 0 0 4 57 196 50 29 2 19 1328 1053

Early qualifying attempts (1987 – 2007)[edit]

The Soviet Union declined to take up its invite to take part in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup on the basis of the IRB membership by apartheid South Africa.[3] The Soviet Rugby Union was not an IRB member in time for 1991 Rugby World Cup qualifying.

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.

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.

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 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.

2011[edit]

Russia qualified for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand as Europe 2 after finishing second in the 2008–10 European Nations Cup. This marked the team's World Cup 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.[5]

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,[citation needed] as the team scored the most tries (8) by a debutant in the professional era,[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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

2015[edit]

The Russian national rugby union team finished third in European qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The top two teams in the final group— Georgia and Romania — immediately qualified for the 2015 tournament. Russia, as third-place finisher in the final group, faced Uruguay in a home-and-away two-game playoff. Uruguay won on aggregate and secured the 20th and final qualifying spot for the 2015 tournament, with Russia failing to qualify.

European Nations Cup[edit]

Main: European Nations Cup

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 in February and March. 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 30-man squad for their 2016 June internationals against Canada and the United States.[6]

Head Coach: Russia Alexander Pervukhin

  • Caps Updated: 19 June 2016

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

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
Sergey Chernyshev Hooker (1988-05-13) 13 May 1988 (age 28) 2 Russia Slava Moscow
Nazir Gasanov Hooker (1985-06-20) 20 June 1985 (age 31) 10 Russia Yenisey-STM
Evgeni Matveev Hooker (1985-04-15) 15 April 1985 (age 31) 46 Russia VVA Saracens
Azamat Bitiev Prop (1989-12-09) 9 December 1989 (age 26) 5 Russia Krasny Yar
Vladimir Podrezov Prop (1994-01-27) 27 January 1994 (age 22) 7 Russia VVA Saracens
Evgeni Pronenko Prop (1984-06-06) 6 June 1984 (age 32) 46 Russia Yenisey-STM
Sergey Sekisov Prop (1986-11-19) 19 November 1986 (age 29) 18 Russia VVA Saracens
Alexei Volkov Prop (1986-06-14) 14 June 1986 (age 30) 45 Russia VVA Saracens
Innokenty Zykov Prop (1981-05-25) 25 May 1981 (age 35) 26 Russia Yenisey-STM
Denis Antonov Lock (1986-10-17) 17 October 1986 (age 29) 27 Russia Slava Moscow
Andrei Garbuzov Lock (1983-08-07) 7 August 1983 (age 33) 76 Russia Krasny Yar
Dimitri Krotov Lock (1992-01-14) 14 January 1992 (age 24) 9 Russia Yenisey-STM
Evgeny Yolgin Lock (1987-03-10) 10 March 1987 (age 29) 5 Russia Yenisey-STM
Pavel Butenko Flanker (1987-05-11) 11 May 1987 (age 29) 39 Russia Yenisey-STM
Danila Chegodaev Flanker (1992-01-09) 9 January 1992 (age 24) 5 Russia VVA Saracens
Victor Gresev Flanker (1986-03-31) 31 March 1986 (age 30) 80 Russia Krasny Yar
Andrei Temnov (c) Flanker (1983-01-01) 1 January 1983 (age 33) 52 Russia Yenisey-STM
Anton Rudoy Number 8 (1983-02-21) 21 February 1983 (age 33) 6 Russia Yenisey-STM
Alexei Shcherban Scrum-half (1990-11-17) 17 November 1990 (age 25) 31 Russia Yenisey-STM
Konstantin Uzunov Scrum-half 1 Russia Yenisey-STM
Ruslan Yagudin Scrum-half (1987-03-29) 29 March 1987 (age 29) 14 Russia Krasny Yar
Yuri Kushnarev Fly-half (1985-06-06) 6 June 1985 (age 31) 80 Russia Yenisey-STM
Sergey Yanyushkin Fly-half (1986-11-16) 16 November 1986 (age 29) 12 Russia VVA Saracens
Dimitry Gerasimov Centre (1988-04-16) 16 April 1988 (age 28) 36 Russia Yenisey-STM
Evgeni Kolomiytsev Centre (1990-05-16) 16 May 1990 (age 26) 3 Russia Krasny Yar
Vladimir Rudenko Centre (1987-09-01) 1 September 1987 (age 29) 18 Russia Krasny Yar
Dimitri Simonov Centre (1984-03-25) 25 March 1984 (age 32) 0 Russia Yenisey-STM
Vasily Artemyev Wing (1987-07-24) 24 July 1987 (age 29) 63 Russia Krasny Yar
Igor Golosnitsky Wing (1994-05-30) 30 May 1994 (age 22) 0 Russia Krasny Yar
Anton Ryabov Fullback (1989-04-04) 4 April 1989 (age 27) 18 Russia Krasny Yar

Coaching staff[edit]

Former Wales flanker Kingsley Jones was the most recent coach, with Siua Taumalolo and Darren Morris as his assistants. He left in 2014 to take up a coaching role with the Newport Gwent Dragons in Wales. Raphaël Saint-André, brother of French coach Philippe Saint-André, then coached the team for the final two matches of the 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifying matches against Uruguay. With Saint-André in charge, Russia lost 49-57 on aggregate, resulting in the Saint-André losing his job. Alexander Pervukhin in now the current coach as of December 2014.

Coaching staff
Name
With Backs Forwards Dates
Russia Alexander Pervukhin 2014-
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 and upcoming fixtures[edit]

The following table shows the fixtures of the Russian national team in official test matches during the previous 12 months.

Date Opponent Opp Rank Result Venue Event
2016-06-25  United States 17 - United States Bonney Field, Sacramento Test match
2016-06-18  Canada 18 - Canada Calgary Rugby Park, Calgary Test match
2016-03-19  Portugal 30 W (53-21) Portugal Estádio Universitário de Lisboa, Lisbon European Nations Cup
2016-03-12  Georgia 13 L (7-24) Russia Sochi Central Stadium, Sochi European Nations Cup
2016-02-27  Romania 17 L (0-30) Romania Stadionul Emil Alexandrescu, Iasi European Nations Cup
2016-02-13  Germany 26 W (46-20) Russia Sochi Central Stadium, Sochi European Nations Cup
2016-02-06  Spain 21 W (22-20) Russia Sochi Central Stadium, Sochi European Nations Cup
2015-11-21  Hong Kong 23 W (31-12) Hong Kong Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong 2015 Cup of Nations
2015-11-17  Zimbabwe 29 W (50-5) Hong Kong Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong 2015 Cup of Nations
2015-11-13  Portugal 27 W (23-12) Hong Kong Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong 2015 Cup of Nations
2015-07-18  Namibia 22 L (5-43) Namibia Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium, Windhoek Test match
2015-07-11  Namibia 22 L (19-39) Namibia Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium, Windhoek Test match

World Rugby Rankings[edit]

Top 30 rankings as of 19 September 2016[7]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  New Zealand 96.30
2 Steady  England 89.49
3 Steady  Australia 85.53
4 Steady  South Africa 84.30
5 Steady  Wales 82.49
6 Steady  Ireland 81.67
7 Steady  Argentina 80.93
8 Steady  France 80.75
9 Steady  Scotland 80.44
10 Steady  Fiji 75.49
11 Steady  Georgia 75.23
12 Steady  Japan 74.95
13 Steady  Italy 72.23
14 Steady  Samoa 71.37
15 Steady  Tonga 69.47
16 Steady  Romania 68.74
17 Steady  United States 65.60
18 Steady  Canada 64.53
19 Steady  Uruguay 63.56
20 Steady  Namibia 62.78
21 Steady  Russia 61.91
22 Steady  Kenya 59.28
23 Steady  Spain 58.79
24 Steady  Belgium 57.94
25 Steady  Hong Kong 57.84
26 Steady  Germany 57.71
27 Steady  Ukraine 56.95
28 Steady  Chile 55.73
29 Steady  South Korea 54.85
30 Steady  Portugal 54.29
*Change from the previous week
Russia's Historical Rankings
Russia IRB World Rankings.png
Source: World Rugby - Graph updated to 1 November 2015[7]

On introduction of the World Rugby 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 March 13, 2016, Russia is ranked 20th in the world.

Overall record[edit]

Team Mat Won Lost Draw Win % For Against Difference
Argentina Argentina XV 5 0 5 0 0.00% 58 199 -151
 Australia 1 0 1 0 0.00% 68 22 -46
Barbarians 1 1 0 0 100.00% 27 22 +5
 Belgium 4 4 0 0 100.00% 126 78 +48
 Canada 3 0 3 0 0.00% 27 91 -64
 Croatia 2 1* 1 0 50.00% 16 23 -7
 Czech Republic 8 6 2 0 75.00% 309 103 +206
 Denmark 3 3 0 0 100.00% 191 28 +163
England England Saxons 1 0 1 0 0.00% 17 49 -32
 France A 2 0 2 0 0.00% 48 156 -108
 Georgia 20 1 18 1 5.00% 231 500 -269
 Germany 8 8 0 0 100.00% 398 93 +305
 Hong Kong 3 3 0 0 100.00% 99 46 +53
 Ireland 2 0 2 0 0.00% 12 62 -50
Ireland Ireland Wolfhounds 1 0 1 0 0.00% 0 66 -66
 Italy 4 0 4 0 0.00% 61 198 -137
 Italy A 6 0 6 0 0.00% 102 189 -87
 Japan 5 1 4 0 20.00% 90 237 -147
 Morocco 3 2 1 0 66.67% 44 46 -2
 Namibia 4 2 2 0 50.00% 85 109 -24
 Netherlands 4 4 0 0 100.00% 208 39 -169
 Norway 1 1 0 0 100.00% 66 0 +66
 Poland 4 4 0 0 100.00% 131 33 +98
 Portugal 20 14 5 1 70.00% 563 368 +195
 Romania 19 6 12 1 31.57% 266 470 -204
 Spain 19 15 4 0 78.94% 587 432 +155
 Tunisia 2 2 0 0 100.00% 57 41 +16
 Ukraine 9 9 0 0 100.00% 439 115 +324
 United States 6 0 6 0 0.00% 97 193 -94
United States USA Selects 1 0 1 0 0.00% 21 30 -9
 Uruguay 7 4 3 0 57.14% 136 94 +42
 Zimbabwe 2 2 0 0 100.00% 73 20 +53
Total 181 93 85 3 51.38% 4664 4184 +490
  • Correct as of March 12, 2016
  • Russia only, no Soviet results included[8]
  • Russia were awarded a walkover

Individual records[edit]

Top points scorers[edit]

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

[9]

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 World Rugby Sevens Series and in the FIRA-AER Grand Prix Sevens circuit, with Moscow hosting the second leg. The sevens team has recorded wins against Tier 1 nations and recorded their first top eight finish at the 2011 Hong Kong Sevens,[citation needed] 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. ^ Rugby Union of Russia Official Team Media Guide for RWC11
  4. ^ http://www.ferugby.com/noticias.htm
  5. ^ "Official RWC 2011 Site". RugbyWorldCup.com. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  6. ^ Russia names squad for Americas tour
  7. ^ a b "World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  8. ^ extrapolated from RUR official Team Media Guide RWC 2011
  9. ^ extrapolated from RUR Official Team Media Guide RWC 2011

External links[edit]