Could Russia one day be a major player in world rugby? The national team has qualified for the World Cup for just the second time in its history and a new coach says the country is full of potential. “You’d be surprised how much promise there is in Russia,” says Lyn Jones, a former Welsh international who was brought in to oversee the Russian side in August last year. When the 54-year-old ex-flanker began talks with the Russian Federation, there was little question of participation in the World Cup to be held in Japan this autumn. But after Spain, Romania and Belgium were disqualified for using ineligible players at the qualification stages, the little-tried Russian side found itself thrust into the international spotlight. Jones, capped five times for Wales, told AFP the qualification was unexpected but that the team “can get to a standard which will be competitive and respectable”. Since arriving in Russia, Jones has been travelling the country to meet local coaches and watch matches with a view to regenerating the national team. His task presents certain challenges. The Russian league contains just eight clubs, which are spread across the world’s largest country. The top two, Yenisey-STM and… Read full this story
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