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The Russian domestic season got underway in the Moscow Region with men's, women's and colleges 9-a-side tournaments. Vereya Bears won the eight-team men's competition, while southern university side Don State won the women's and college's Gagarin Cups.


Vereya, MSPU (Moscow Pedagogical University), Centaur and new side RCTU-  formed by a graduate of the Vereya production line - played in Group A, with Storm, Schelkovo Pandas, Threshers and Crystal making up Group B. Vereya and Storm won the groups, beating Rostov outfit Crystal and MSPU in the play-offs, the Bears taking a hotly contested final 16-14.


The 9s event was a prelude to the start of the Russian championship, which begins this weekend. Storm and Vereya do battle again while MGPU take on Threshers in the Centre Conference. The Russian rugby league's plan is for the winners of the four-team North-West and South Conferences to play off with the two highest ranked Centre Conference teams.

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Having emerged victorious at the culmination of the 2012-3 Rugby League European Shield - seeing off Italy, Serbia and Germany in the home and away tournament - Russia Rugby League (ARLK) are looking to further the sport in the country.

A three-day seminar and workshop in Naro-Fominsk, run by RLEF Coaching Manager Martin Crick, has identified a five man team that will help the ARLK to establish itself in the regions, comprising of Grigory Esin (St Petersburg, north region), Vladimir Kuschnerchuk (Rostov, south region), and Andrey Volkov, Kiril Borisov and Eduard Ososkov (Moscow and Moscow Region)

“It`s very necessary for us now to use this knowledge to raise up us many new coaches as it possible. With them we`ll revive our domestic championship and will raise it to a new, higher level,” said Esin

Following fruitful discussions between the RLEF and ARLK, the two organisations will work on agreeing on the implementation of the third and final phase of the RLEF Technical Strategy, which will see all five tutor candidates delivering Level 1 courses to new Russian coaches.

ARLK president Edgard Taturyan, who is leading the fight to restore Russian rugby league’s official government status, added, “You can see how serious the candidates were during the seminar and some of them came from distant cities. Now, the ARLK will stress the importance of sharing their new knowledge with new players and coaches.”

RLEF General Manager Danny Kazandjian was also present during the seminar, confirmed, “technical education must remain at the forefront of what we do. Russia is incredibly important to European rugby league. The ARLK is manned by determined, hard-working and loyal people who, despite having endured some tough times, never abandoned their posts. Now ARLK is at a stage where it can begin to plan constructively and really begin to look at growing the game in St Petersburg, Moscow and the south. The RLEF will continue to support the ARLK’s struggle to regain their official government status, which is imperative.”

According to Crick, “Russian Rugby League took a significant step forward. As playing numbers continue to expand, with significant numbers of schools and young people now playing the game, the development of coaches is crucial. I was hugely impressed with the levels of knowledge of those attending the seminar, and with their obvious love of the game, and the future looks bright for the sport in Russia.'

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