Амеriка: Russкаya is commie to get you!
Rugby

Амеriка: Russкаya is Commie to get you!

Амеriка: Russкаya is Commie to get you!

The Russian Bears focus will be on Game 1 against the US Eagles this Thursday as they look to chalk up a possible win in their Rugby World Cup debut.

Let’s face it, the Russia v. US ‘Cold War’ clash is their only realistic opportunity of winning a match at this tournament. They’re not going to defeat the Wallabies, Ireland or the Azzurri unless there’s a boilover of bolshoi proportions.

Vasily Artemiev

The Russian squad contains a core group of professional (and semi-professional) players like winger Vasily Artemiev, who has just signed for Northampton Saints, lock Andrei Ostrikov (Sale Sharks), No 8 Viacheslav Grachev (Bizanos) and fly-half Konstantin Rachkov (Aix-en-Provence/former Bayonne).

Melbourne Rebels lock Adam Byrnes is also included as he qualifies due to his Russian maternal grandparents.

The Russian team Kapitan is hooker Vladislav Korshunov from Russia’s top club VVA-Podmoskovye. With 54 caps to his name, he is one of Russia’s most experienced players.

In total, VVA have provided 13 of the players in the 30-strong Russian squad. Other clubs represented include Slava Moscow, Yenisey-STM and Krasny Yar (both from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia).

Rugby was established in the former USSR in 1936 with famous club sides like Dynamo Moscow, Spartak Moscow and Lokomotiv Tiblisi (Georgia) to the fore. However, it wasn’t until 1974 that they played their first international. Leading into the 1980’s they were defeating teams like Italy and Romania.

With the break-up of the Soviet Union the Russian Rugby Union (Soyuz Rugbistov Russkaya) was formed in 1992.

Russia qualified for the 2011 RWC second in Europe behind Georgia. One of the results was a 21-21 draw with Romania, so they’re no mugs.

Adam Byrnes

Their involvement in the 2011 Churchill Cup resulted in narrow losses to Canada, USA and Italy A. Warm-up matches against UK based sides Northampton Saints, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Gloucester all resulted in heavy defeats.

Former Sale Sharks coach Kingsley Jones and England international Henry Paul are part of current VVA coach Nikolay Nerush’s Russian coaching team.

Strengths: The Russian’s play a more expansive brand of rugby than their Georgian cousins. They like to play with ball in hand and possess a very strong back three. If the weather is kind they’ll look to sling it wide. Danger-men like Artemiev and Rachkov will pose a direct threat to any defensive line.

Weaknesses: There is no depth and semi-professional/amateur players just won’t cut it with the big boys. They might stretch the USA but they’ll be on the end of significant losses to other teams in their pool. This is their first appearance at a RWC so it’ll essentially be a learning experience.

Likely First XV: 1. Sergey Popov 2. Vladislav Korshunov (c)  3. Ivan Prishchepenko 4. Andrei Ostrikov 5. Adam Byrnes 6. Artem Fatakhov 7. Andrey Garbuzov 8. Vyacheslav Grachev 9. Alexander Shakirov 10. Yury Kushnarev 11. Vladimir Ostroushko 12. Alexey Makovetskiy 13. Konstantin Rachkov 14. Vasily Artemiev 15. Igor Klyuchnikov

Russian Squad: Vladislav Korshunov (c), Valeri Tsnobiladze, Alexander Khrokin, Ivan Prishchepenko, Alexei Travkin, Denis Antonov, Adam Byrnes, Andrei Ostrikov, Alexander Voytov, Artem Fatakhov, Andrey Garbuzov, Mikhail Sidorov, Viacheslav Grachev, Victor Gresev, Andrei Bykanov, Alexander Shakirov, Alexander Yanyushkin, Yuri Kushnarev, Konstantin Rachkov, Mikhail Babaev, Igor Galinovskiy, Alexei Makovetski, Vasily Artemiev, Andrei Kuzin, Vladimir Ostroushko, Igor Klyuchnikov, Denis Simplikevich.

Russian rugby is picking up a head of steam as they’ve been awarded the Rugby World Cup 7s tournament in 2013.

Russia’s RWC 2011 opener will be against the USA at New Plymouth’s Stadium Taranaki. The Eagles form in their Irish match was a phenom and a repeat performance would leave the Russians out in the cold.

  • Brumby Jack

    I remember when the Russians came and played in Australia in the 90’s.

    Let’s hope things have progressed since then…

    • Skip

      If i remember right some got badly sunburnt and found the scrumming total agony…

      • Brumby Jack

        Correct. I think it was on a day trip to the Barrier Reef.

  • saulih

    Go USA!

    • Pedro

      Go watch Russia from your house!

  • Pedro

    I hope they sold a lot of tickets to this game, it would be great for two development teams to play in front of a big crowd in a game they could win.

    Go Russia! Krush those capitalist swine!

    • KangaDingo

      How dare u!

  • Army_Gav

    I’m there for this, should be a cracker.

    Apparently 1000-2000 Russians have made the trip to the World Cup, so I’m sure they’ll make it to this game.

  • Joe Mac

    USA will be too strong. Hayden Smith (Australian) in their team would push for a bench spot for the Wallabies.

  • Patrick

    I actually think this will be one of the games that highlights the new world order in rugby with teams like the USA Tonga Samoa Japan Fiji (the old second-tier) now nipping right at the heels of Scotland and Italy (the new second tier) and teams like Namibia Russia Georgia Romania now a third tier but really in the same place as the old second tier teams; i.e. Russia now are like the USA eight years ago.

    Of course the real story of this is that France Eire Argentina and Wales are struggling to stay in the new first tier of the 3N + England. We will see at this world cup if England are keeping the pace but they look like it.

    and the moral of this for USA v Russia is bet on the line, for the USA, they’ll beat it.

    • WithaRebelYell

      Wales and France have to be included in your “first teir”. The French have won more Six Nations championships than the English, and made 2 RWC Finals. And Wales based on their most recent performance are right up there. We’re going to have a though quarter-final against them. Make no mistake.

    • WithaRebelYell

      *Tier

      • stoff

        I think his point was that the tiers are changing, and history is therefore less relevant, at least in relation to previous world cup performance. Admittedly though, all the 6 Nations competitors he noted as dropping from first to second tier have won the tournament as grand slam champions since the last world cup.

        I think generally the shift between the tiers is more cyclical, and a nation will have weaker and stronger years. My top tier would still contain the 3N and 6N less Italy and Scotland. I would group those two with the Argies and the PI nations as the second tier. Not sure if the US are there yet. with very few of their squad playing top flight professional rugby anywhere in the world, and certainly havent produced big names like a Parisse, Contemponi, etc. I don’t know much about Japan or Canada so I don’t know where they sit in all this.

  • GoForGold

    In soviet russia, rugby plays you.

  • cantab

    I think USA will dominate, there run on team is fully pro? plus they have Todd cleaver who is a machine, stamped his foot in super rugby a couple of years back.

    Going to the Russa V Wallabies game, will be epic!

  • Muffy

    In Soviet Russia vodka strongs you to defeat capitalist pig

    Владимир Mufiski

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