Russia announces rugby squad for British tour

The Rugby Union of Russia has announced its 34-strong squad which will travel to Britain for four games against top-level English and Welsh opposition this month.

The Russian national side, the Bears, will play two sides from England’s Aviva Premiership and two Welsh regions from the RaboDirect Pro12.

Russia will play Northampton Saints (England) on August 12, Newport Gwent Dragons (Wales) on August 16, Ospreys (Wales) on August 21 and Gloucester (England) on August 26.

These are the final games before the team departs for New Zealand for Russia’s first-ever appearance at the Rugby World Cup.

They are also the first chance Russia has had to play against regional Welsh sides.

The squad is dominated by players from Russian champions VVA-Podmoskovye, but five of Russia’s other seven Super League clubs are also represented.

The squad includes Vasily Artemyev, who will open the tour against his new club side Northampton Saints, and Andrei Ostrikov, who will also get the chance to play against some of the opposition he will face next year when playing for his new club Sale Sharks.

Two other players who were not at the Bears’ training camp in Sochi in July also join the squad. Vladimir Ostroushko has successfully recovered from a groin injury, and lock Adam Byrnes, who qualifies for Russia through ancestry on his mother’s side, joins from Super 15 side Melbourne Reds.

Russian squad for British tour:

Russia will be in the United Kingdom for three weeks.

Denis Antonov, Slava-ShVSM (Moscow)

Vasily Artemyev, Northampton Saints (England)

Mikhail Babaev, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Vladimir Botvinnikov, Enisey-STM (Krasnoyarsk)

Andrei Bykanov, Slava-ShVSM (Moscow)

Adam Byrnes, Melbourne Rebels (Australia)

Artem Fatakhov, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Igor Galinovskiy, Krasny Yar (Krasnoyarsk)

Andrei Garbuzov, Krasny Yar (Krasnoyarsk)

Vyacheslav Grachev, Bizanos (France)

Viktor Gresev, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Alexander Khrokin, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Igor Klyuchnikov, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Kirill Kopeshkin, Imperia (Penza)

Vladislav Korshunov, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Yury Kushnarev, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Kirill Kushnarev, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Andrei Kuzin, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Alexei Makovetsky, Krasny Yar (Krasnoyarsk)

Evgeny Matveev, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Andrei Ostrikov, Sale Sharks (England)

Vladimir Ostroushko, Enisey-STM (Krasnoyarsk)

Sergei Popov, Slava-ShVSM (Moscow)

Ivan Prishchepenko, Krasny Yar (Krasnoyarsk)

Konstantin Rachkov, Stade Phoceen (France)

Alexander Shakirov, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Mikhail Sidorov, Slava-ShVSM (Moscow)

Sergei Sugrobov, Slava-ShVSM (Moscow)

Andrei Temnov, Enisey-STM (Krasnoyarsk)

Alexei Travkin, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Sergei Trishin, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Valeriy Tsnobiladze, Novokuznetsk (Novokuznetsk)

Alexander Voytov, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

Alexander Yanyushkin, VVA-Podmoskovye (Monino)

The squad will be coached by Head Coach Nikolai Nerush, National Teams Director Kingsley Jones, and Backs Coach Henry Paul.

The team will travel to Russia before flying to New Zealand in September for the Rugby World Cup. The Bears will be in Group C where they will face the United States (September 15), Italy (September 20), Ireland (September 25), and Australia (October 1).

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