The undefeated sides in European Championship B meet in Naro-Fominsk on Saturday, after both Serbia and Russia beat newcomers Ukraine in their opening matches.
Hosts Russia will be confident after a Russia Select XIII defeated the touring Midlands Lionhearts 60-16 last weekend.
“We’ve had two training sessions as a team after the Lionhearts tour,” said Russian rugby league (ARLK) president Edgard Taturyan. “All our players are preparing very seriously to face Serbia.”
“Head coach Igor Ovchinnikov has looked at some younger players and I have no doubt he will pick the right team.”
Ovchinnikov has named centre Petr Botnarash, who scored a hat-trick against Serbia in the world cup qualifier in 2011, and recalls talismanic play-maker Alex Lysokon, who missed the Ukraine match through injury, in a strong 20-man group.
Serbia, who lost by a point, 21-20, in Russia in 2012, have prepared with a match against Serbia U20, winning 40-0.
Head coach Marko Janković has picked an experienced side that will be stronger still through the return of front row Dejan Lukenic, but Serbia has not beaten Russia in five previous attempts.
“Although there is respect, the rivalry between Serbia and Russia is already well known in the world of rugby league,” said the former army officer.
“Our preparation went well, we know what to expect in Russia and when the match begins.”
The match kicks off at 5pm at Naro-Fominsk’s SK Nara Stadium.
RUSSIA 20-MAN SQUAD
Petr Botnarash (Fili, RU), Artem Grigoryan, Ruslan Izmailov, Kirill Kosharin, Mikhail Nisiforov, Roman Ovchinnikov, Andrey Zdobnikov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Dmitriy Bratko, Vadim Fedchuk, Konstantin Rostchin (Storm), Rustam Bulanov, Mikhail Burlutskiy, Sergey Gaponov, Anatoly Grigorev, Sergey Konstantinov, Aleksandr Lysokon, Alexey Nikolaev, Eduard Ososkov, Maksim Suchkov, Denis Tiulenev, Vladimir Vlasyuk (Vereya)
SERBIA 20-MAN SQUAD
Marko Ćuk, Dejan Lukenić, Stefan Nedeljković, Dalibor Samardžić, Stevan Stevanović, Ivan Tulić, Dalibor Vukanović (Dorćol), Lazar Živković (Niš), Stefan Ilić, Džavid Jašari (Partizan), Miloš Djurković, Žarko Kovačević, Mile Podkoljnjak (Radnički NP), Vladislav Dedić, Vojislav Dedić, Vladica Nikolić, Miodrag Tomić, Miloš Zogović (Red Star), Filip Stošić (Soko), Miloš Ćalić (Tašmajdan Tigers)