Interview: Nadezhda Kudinova ahead of World Rugby Awards 2015

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Russia’s Women’s Sevens team captain Nadezhda Kudinova has flown to England to take part in World Rugby’s end-of-year Awards at the Battersea Evolution in London on 1 November. Before leaving, Kudinova spoke to the press service of the Rugby Union of Russia about her thoughts and feelings ahead of the ceremony and what the coming season holds for her team.

 

— I was very proud to be listed among the nominees for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year, Kudinova said, not able to hide her emotions. To be honest, for me it was a complete surprise, but it would be a huge honour for me to be named as Player of the Year.

 

— Do you think the 2015 World Series was your best season ever?

 

— It was probably the best. Certainly there were more positive aspects than negative and overall I am happy with my play.

 

— What personally stands out most for you from last season?

 

— The first thing that comes to my is the World Series leg in Canada, where we beat the French in the semi-finals and reached the final of a Series tournament for the first time. I scored a try in that match! (Smiles).

 

— How has your husband reacted to your success?

 

— He’s extremely proud and very happy for me. He’s backing me for victory from my nomination.

 

— Do you have butterflies before flying to London?

 

— Of course! I’m excited by the chance of winning, but I know I might not. The other nominees are extremely talented rugby players.

 

— Which of the other nominees do you admire the most?

 

— I love how Sarah Goss plays the game. Portia Woodman never has a bad match, but Goss pulls her team through at crucial moments or scores the decisive try.

 

— There is a tough season ahead for the Russian team with the main task being Olympic qualification. What are the coach’s priorities?

 

— Head Coach Pavel Baranovsky has told us that the main composition of the team will travel to three legs of the World Series, and in the other three legs players from the wider group will have the opportunity to take to the field. This will enable the core players to recouperate and focus before the Qualifying Tournament for the Olympics. The past two seasons on the circuit have been extremely intense and we now need to build up a wider player pool to boost our chances of qualifying for Rio 2016.

 

Kudinova has been nominated for the Award alongside Australia’s Charlotte Caslick and New Zealand’s Sarah Goss and Portia Woodman.

 

Photo by Stanislav Kolpakov