Russia participation in World Cup qualifiers to give rugby league a boost

Drew Darbyshire

As Russia prepare to take on Spain and Serbia early next month in European Championship B, Russian Federation of Clubs president Denis Korolev is predicting that sport will receive a significant boost.

“Participation of the Russian national team will be of great importance for the development of the rugby league in Russia,” he said from Moscow.

“Matches of the national team will be covered in the media, shown on TV and internet channels. This can attract new players and sponsors ready to help develop our sport.”

The initial train-on squad announced by the Federation includes at least one player from each of their nine domestic teams.

“This is the current number left, which despite all difficulties, especially those related to financing, continue to develop rugby league,” Korolev confirmed.

Fourteen of the squad, including veterans Alexandr Lysokon and Petr Botnarash come from reigning champions, army side CSKA who beat rivals Spartak in the Grand Final in front of over 1,000 fans, with third-placed side Vityaz coming from the city of Perm.

“Championships have been held since 1993 and the ARLK have been conducting them since 2013,” Korolev added.

“Locomotive Moscow collected a record eleven championships with Kazan Arrows next with four. The oldest team, Moscow Magicians, have been champions once and RK Vereya won in 2013 and again two years later.

“We have been participating in European Championships B since 2010, winning it that year and again in 2012-13. We have the utmost respect for our opponents this time but we genuinely believe we can progress closer to the World Cup finals.”

European Championship B fixtures:

6 Oct 2018 – 15:00 Spain Russia Quatre Carreres, Valencia
13 Oct 2018 – 15:00 Russia Serbia Fily Stadium, Moscow
20 Oct 2018 – 14:00 Serbia Spain Makis Stadium, Belgrade