Round-up news: November 2


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Rugby World Cup

 The highlight of the rugby calendar – the Rugby World Cup – took place in England throughout October and the Rugby Union of Russia would firstly like to congratulate our colleagues at the Georgian Rugby Union on their two wins and direct qualification for the next edition in Japan in 2019. We would also like to extend special congratulations to Romania, who also put in a strong showing for Rugby Europe – creating world records for biggest RWC comeback and largest RWC attendance (vs. Ireland), and to Uruguay, who did themselves and their nation proud in the spot Russia had hoped to take in Group A.

 World Rugby closed the festivities of Rugby World Cup 2015 with its annual awards ceremony at the Battersea Evolution in London. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams was Russia Women’s Sevens National Team Captain Nadezhda Kudinova, who was nominated for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year 2015 alongside Australia’s Charlotte Caswick and New Zealand’s Sarah Goss and Portia Woodman. Woodman would get the nod in the end, but Kudinova’s recognition highlighted the huge steps forward made by Russia on the Women’s Sevens World Series this year.

 Kudinova and her team, led by Coach Pavel Baranovsky, now turn their sights to the new circuit, with the twin goals of performing well in the Series and qualification through repecharge to the Olympic Games in Brazil. Kudinova said her coach had plans to use a broader squad of players on tour this coming year, firstly to build a wider playing pool of talent, but also to optimise playing time of his more experienced players on the Road to Rio.

 With New Zealand successfully defending their crown, a new four-year cycle is now underway and for Russia this kicks off with the four-team Cup of Nations in mid-November. The tournament sees the final three teams to be eliminated from RWC2015 qualifying in Russia, hosts Hong Kong and Zimbabwe (who the Bears defeated in Krasnoyarsk to progress to the repecharge final), with the addition of a familiar foe in Portugal.

Date

Opponent

13 Nov

Portugal

17 Nov

Zimbabwe

21 Nov

Hong Kong

 

With players from Enisei-STM unavailable due to participation in the European Challenge Cup, Coach Alexander Pervukhin will be looking for a broader group of players to gain valuable international experience as the quest to qualify for Japan 2019 begins. 

European Championships

The women’s European Championships 2015 (XVs) took place in Zug, Switzerland at the end of October. After losing the semi-final to the hosts 12-27, Russia’s women defeated the Czech Republic 41-15 in the third place play-off to repeat the bronze medal placing of 2014.

Russia’s women were not the only fifteens national team in action in late October, with the Under 19s travelling to Lisbon for their own European tournament. After opening with a 22-13 win over Belgium, the Bears suffered a 7-30 defeat against a strong Spanish side in the semi-finals, before being edged out by the hosts 22-20 in the bronze medal match.

European Challenge Cup

The wait for 2014 Russian Premier League champions Enisei-STM to make their European rugby bow is almost over and ahead of the historic November 14 tie versus Irish provincial side Connacht, the Krasnoyarsk team has announced the signings of Russian internationals Mikhail Babaev and Mikhail Sidorov from VVA-Podmoskovye and Slava Moscow, respectively. The pair are eligible to take to the field for Enisei from the first round of the tournament – the entirety of which takes place in the Russian off-season. The first round game will take place in Krasnoyarsk’s 22,500-seat Central Stadium and will be presided over by the FFR’s Thomas Charabas. The game will kick-off at 1500 local time (0900 GMT) and will be broadcast live by local providers.

Meanwhile, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has announced the structure of the Qualifying Competition for the 2016/7 European Challenge Cup, with teams from Italy, Romania, Spain, Germany and Belgium playing in a two-pool first round. The winners of these two pools will proceed to play-off games against an Italian and Russian representative (tentatively 2015 Russian champions Krasny Yar) with the winners of these two matches qualifying for next year’s tournament.

In other club rugby news, Kazan’s Dinamo-Energia toppled teams from Chita and St. Petersburg to win the Russian «Major» League, the second-level in the Russian club rugby pyramid.

Meanwhile, former Australian National Team Coach Nigel Ashley-Jones returned to Russia in October, where he held training seminars in Moscow and Krasnoyarsk.

Sevens

In mid-October, Kuban wrapped up the 2015 overall Sevens title with victory in the final round in Kazan. The Krasnodar side won three of the four Series rounds and dispatched nearest challengers VVA-Podmoskovye in the semi-finals to secure the title before dispatching the overall third-placed team, Kransy Yar 26-12 in the final.

Final standings, Russian Sevens Championship 2015:

 

Team

I

II

III

IV

Total

1

Kuban (Krasnodar)

17

17

15

17

66

2

VVA-Podmooskovye (Monino)

15

14

17

13

59

3

Krasny Yar (Krasnoyarsk)

11

15

15

15

55

4

Slava (Moscow)

14

13

13

14

54

5

UOR (Monino)

9

9

9

11

38

6

Alpari (Kazan)

7

8

11

9

35

7

Empire (Penza)

5

7

8

8

28

8

Bulava (Taganrog)

13

5

7

25

9

Enisei-STM (Krasnoyarsk)

8

11

19

10

Olymp (Dagestan)

3

3

5

11

VVA-Podmoskovye were however able to reap some measure of revenge to close the Sevens season, beating Kuban 26-17 to take home the Russian Sevens Cup.

Meanwhile, the Halloween weekend saw women’s teams line up in the capital for the Moscow championship. While Trudovy Reservy (Labor Reserves) walked away with the women’s prize after going undefeated. 

The Moscow Students’ Sevens Championship closed for the winter break with MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute) continuing the airspace industry’s long-standing traditions in Russian rugby by winning round 2 of the tournament. MAI now sit in second overall behind first round winners MSPU (Moscow State Pedagogical University).

Age group

The future continues to look bright for Enisei-STM, with the Krasnoyarsk team’s U17s beating out Moscow and Penza (silver and bronze, respectively) to claim the Russian U17 championship.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Russia/USSR masters teams returned from October’s European Masters Games in Nice with silverware after the over 60s brought home the gold and the over 45s silver medals behind France.