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Russia national rugby union team

Template:Infobox rugby team 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.


File:Georgia versus Russia at rugby.jpg
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

World Cup record

World Cup record World Cup Qualification record
Year Round P W D L F A P W D L F A
23x15px23x15px 1987 Declined invitation -
23x15px23x15px23x15px 1991 Did not enter Did not enter
23x15px 1995 Did not qualify 4 3 0 1 125 49
23x15px 1999 4 1 0 3 85 92
23x15px 2003 6 5 0 1 176 114
23x15px 2007 14 6 1 7 382 323
23x15px 2011 Pool Stage 4 0 0 4 57 196 10 7 1 2 291 175
23x15px 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)

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.


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]

Team Pld W D L PF PA BP Pts
23x15px Ireland 4 4 0 0 135 34 1 17
23x15px Australia 4 3 0 1 173 48 3 15
23x15px Italy 4 2 0 2 92 95 2 10
23x15px United States 4 1 0 3 38 122 0 4
23x15px Russia 4 0 0 4 57 196 1 1
Match Results
Date Opponent Score Venue
15-Sep-2011 23x15px United States 6-13 Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth
20-Sep-2011 23x15px Italy 17-53 Trafalgar Park, Nelson
25-Sep-2011 23x15px Ireland 12-62 International Stadium, Rotorua
1-Oct-2011 23x15px Australia 22-68 Trafalgar Park, Nelson


The Russian national rugby union team finished third in European qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The two two teams — Georgia and Romania — qualified for the 2015 tournament. Russia, as third-place finisher, 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

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

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

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

Head Coach: 23x15px Raphaël Saint-André

  • Caps Updated: 6 October 2014

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

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
Vladislav Korshunov Template:Rugby squad player/role/HK (1983-03-13) 13 March 1983 (age 37) 68 23x15px VVA Saracens
Stanislav Selskiy Template:Rugby squad player/role/HK (1991-09-02) 2 September 1991 (age 28) 5 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Valery Tsnobiladze Template:Rugby squad player/role/HK (1980-11-03) 3 November 1980 (age 39) 32 23x15px Krasny Yar
Andrei Igretsov Template:Rugby squad player/role/PR (1985-12-23) 23 December 1985 (age 34) 19 23x15px Slava Moscow
Evgeni Pronenko Template:Rugby squad player/role/PR (1984-06-06) 6 June 1984 (age 36) 37 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Sergey Sekisov Template:Rugby squad player/role/PR (1986-11-19) 19 November 1986 (age 33) 6 23x15px VVA Saracens
Grigory Tsnobiladze Template:Rugby squad player/role/PR (1983-01-02) 2 January 1983 (age 37) 20 23x15px Krasny Yar
Innokenty Zykov Template:Rugby squad player/role/PR (1981-05-25) 25 May 1981 (age 39) 22 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Maxim Kiselev Template:Rugby squad player/role/LK (1984-05-08) 8 May 1984 (age 36) 1 23x15px Krasny Yar
Kirill Kulemin Template:Rugby squad player/role/LK (1980-10-13) 13 October 1980 (age 39) 32 23x15px Perpignan
Ivan Sysoev Template:Rugby squad player/role/LK (1988-06-30) 30 June 1988 (age 32) 0 23x15px Krasny Yar
Alexander Voytov (c) Template:Rugby squad player/role/LK (1981-12-07) 7 December 1981 (age 38) 73 23x15px VVA Saracens
Pavel Butenko Template:Rugby squad player/role/FL (1987-05-11) 11 May 1987 (age 33) 27 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Andrei Garbuzov Template:Rugby squad player/role/FL (1983-08-07) 7 August 1983 (age 36) 59 23x15px Krasny Yar
Andrei Ostrikov Template:Rugby squad player/role/FL (1987-07-02) 2 July 1987 (age 33) 21 23x15px Sale Sharks
Andrei Temnov Template:Rugby squad player/role/FL (1983-01-01) 1 January 1983 (age 37) 40 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Vitaly Zhivatov Template:Rugby squad player/role/FL (1990-02-13) 13 February 1990 (age 30) 0 23x15px VVA Saracens
Viktor Gresev Template:Rugby squad player/role/N8 (1986-03-31) 31 March 1986 (age 34) 62 23x15px Krasny Yar
Alexey Shcherban Template:Rugby squad player/role/SH (1990-11-17) 17 November 1990 (age 29) 16 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Ruslan Yagudin Template:Rugby squad player/role/SH (1987-03-29) 29 March 1987 (age 33) 2 23x15px Krasny Yar
Alexander Yanyushkin Template:Rugby squad player/role/SH (1982-10-30) 30 October 1982 (age 37) 68 23x15px VVA Saracens
Yuri Kushnarev Template:Rugby squad player/role/FH (1985-06-06) 6 June 1985 (age 35) 65 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Sergey Sugrobov Template:Rugby squad player/role/FH (1983-02-15) 15 February 1983 (age 37) 23 23x15px Slava Moscow
Vasily Artemyev Template:Rugby squad player/role/CE (1987-07-24) 24 July 1987 (age 32) 47 23x15px Krasny Yar
Mikhail Babaev Template:Rugby squad player/role/CE (1986-01-19) 19 January 1986 (age 34) 50 23x15px VVA Saracens
Dimitry Gerasimov Template:Rugby squad player/role/CE (1988-04-16) 16 April 1988 (age 32) 29 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Alexei Makovetskiy Template:Rugby squad player/role/CE (1983-03-27) 27 March 1983 (age 37) 43 23x15px Krasny Yar
Igor Galinovskiy Template:Rugby squad player/role/WG (1985-09-08) 8 September 1985 (age 34) 31 23x15px Krasny Yar
Igor Klyuchnikov Template:Rugby squad player/role/WG (1983-01-07) 7 January 1983 (age 37) 67 23x15px VVA Saracens
Vladimir Ostroushko Template:Rugby squad player/role/WG (1986-09-30) 30 September 1986 (age 33) 36 23x15px Kuban Krasnodar
Denis Simplikevich Template:Rugby squad player/role/WG (1991-03-11) 11 March 1991 (age 29) 10 23x15px Yenisey-STM
Ilya Dyomushkin Template:Rugby squad player/role/FB (1986-01-23) 23 January 1986 (age 34) 0 23x15px VVA Saracens
Ramil Gaisin Template:Rugby squad player/role/FB (1991-07-26) 26 July 1991 (age 28) 7 23x15px Yenisey-STM

Coaching staff

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
With Backs Forwards Dates
23x15px Alexander Pervukhin 2014-
23x15px Raphaël Saint-André 23x15px Laurent Seigne 2014
23x15px Kingsley Jones 23x15px Siua Taumalolo 23x15px Darren Morris 2011-2014
23x15px Nikolay Nerush 23x15px Kingsley Jones 23x15px Henry Paul 23x15px Darren Morris 2010-2011
23x15px Nikolay Nerush 23x15px Steve Diamond 23x15px Jos Baxendell 23x15px Steve Diamond 2008-2010
23x15px Claude Saurel 2008
23x15px Alexander Pervukhin 2006-2008

Home grounds

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

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
2014-10-11 23x15px Uruguay L (27-36) 23x15px Estadio Charrua, Montevideo 14,000 2015 RWC qualifying
2014-09-27 23x15px Uruguay W (22-21) 23x15px Krasnoyarsk  ??? 2015 RWC qualifying
2014-08-02 23x15px Zimbabwe W (23-15) 23x15px Krasnoyarsk  ??? 2015 RWC qualifying
22-06-2014 23x15px Uruguay 20 L (6-13) 23x15px Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? IRB Nations Cup
18-06-2014 23x15px Romania 17 L (20-18) 23x15px Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? IRB Nations Cup
13-06-2014 Emerging Ireland N/A L (66-0) 23x15px Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? IRB Nations Cup
24-05-2014 23x15px Germany 24 W (20-31) 23x15px Wolfgang-Meyer-Sportanlage ??? 2015 RWC qualifying
15-03-2014 23x15px Belgium 29 W (20-34) 23x15px King Baudouin Stadium ??? European Nations Cup
08-03-2014 23x15px Portugal 21 W (34-18) 23x15px Sochi Central Stadium ??? European Nations Cup
22-02-2014 23x15px Georgia 16 L (36-10) 23x15px Dinamo Arena 54,827 European Nations Cup
08-02-2014 23x15px Romania 17 L (3-34) 23x15px Gazprom Yamal Health Resort ??? European Nations Cup
01-02-2014 23x15px Spain 21 W (25-28) 23x15px Estadio Nacional Complutense ??? European Nations Cup
23-11-2013 23x15px United States 18 L (7-28) 23x15px Allianz Park ??? end-of-year tests
16-11-2013 Template:Country data JPN 14 L (13-40) 23x15px Eirias Park 1,250 end-of-year tests
10-11-2013 Oxford University N/A W (24-31) 23x15px Oxford University ??? end-of-year tests
16-06-2013 23x15px Argentina Jaguars N/A L (30-17) 23x15px Stadionul Arcul de Triumf 6,000 IRB Nations Cup
12-06-2013 23x15px Italy A N/A L (19-27) 23x15px Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? IRB Nations Cup
08-06-2013 23x15px Romania 18 L (30-20) 23x15px Stadionul Arcul de Triumf 1,000 IRB Nations Cup
16-03-2013 23x15px Belgium 24 W (43-32) 23x15px Sochi Central Stadium ??? European Nations Cup
09-03-2013 23x15px Portugal 21 W (23-31) 23x15px Estádio Universitário de Lisboa ??? European Nations Cup

IRB World Rankings

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Top 25 Rankings as 1 June 2015[7]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 11px 23x15px New Zealand 93.70
2 11px 23x15px South Africa 88.23
3 11px 23x15px Ireland 85.76
4 11px 23x15px England 85.40
5 11px 23x15px Wales 84.07
6 11px 23x15px Australia 82.95
7 11px 23x15px France 79.74
8 11px 23x15px Argentina 78.23
9 11px 23x15px Samoa 75.39
10 11px 23x15px Scotland 74.79
11 11px1 23x15px Fiji 74.57
12 11px1 23x15px Tonga 74.12
13 11px2 Template:Country data JPN 73.70
14 11px 23x15px Georgia 72.16
15 11px 23x15px Italy 71.85
16 11px 23x15px United States 67.61
17 11px 23x15px Canada 66.83
18 11px 23x15px Romania 66.23
19 11px 23x15px Russia 64.65
20 11px 23x15px Spain 62.59
21 11px 23x15px Uruguay 62.11
22 11px 23x15px Namibia 58.27
23 11px1 23x15px Chile 57.34
24 11px1 Template:Country data HKG 57.31
25 11px1 Template:Country data KOR 56.70
*Change from the previous week

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

Team Mat Won Lost Draw  %
23x15px Argentina Jaguars 4 0 4 0 0.00
23x15px Australia 1 0 1 0 0.00
Barbarians 1 1 0 0 100.00
23x15px Belgium 3 3 0 0 100.00
23x15px Canada 3 0 3 0 0.00
23x15px Croatia 2 1 1 0 50.00
23x15px Czech Republic 8 6 2 0 75.00
23x15px Denmark 3 3 0 0 100.00
23x15px England Saxons 2 0 2 0 0.00
23x15px France A 2 0 2 0 0.00
23x15px Georgia 17 1 15 1 5.88
23x15px Germany 5 5 0 0 100.00
23x15px Ireland 2 0 2 0 0.00
23x15px Italy 4 0 4 0 0.00
23x15px Italy A 6 0 6 0 0.00
Template:Country data JPN 4 1 3 0 25.00
23x15px Morocco 3 2 1 0 66.67
23x15px Namibia 3 3 0 0 100.00
23x15px Netherlands 4 4 0 0 100.00
23x15px Norway 1 1 0 0 100.00
23x15px Poland 4 4 0 0 100.00
23x15px Portugal 15 9 5 1 63.33
23x15px Romania 16 5 10 1 34.36
23x15px Spain 16 13 3 0 81.25
23x15px Tunisia 2 2 0 0 100.00
23x15px Ukraine 9 9 0 0 100.00
23x15px United States 6 1 5 0 16.67
23x15px 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

Top points scorers

Most points in a Match

Konstantin Rachkov 29 (vs. Germany, 2000)

Top try scorers

Viatcheslav Grachev 31 Andrey Kuzin 24

Most caps

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


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

Other international teams


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.


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


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ RUR Team Media Guide RWC11
  3. ^ Rugby Union of Russia Official Team Media Guide for RWC11
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Official RWC 2011 Site". Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  6. ^ Состав сборной России по регби для подготовки к матчу против Уругвая
  7. ^ a b "World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ extrapolated from RUR official Team Media Guide RWC 2011
  10. ^ extrapolated from RUR Official Team Media Guide RWC 2011

External links