As Russia prepare to take on Spain and Serbia early next month, in European Championship B (which doubles as the next stage of qualification for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England), president of the Russian Federation of Clubs (ARLK), Denis Korolev, is predicting a significant boost for the game in Russia.
“Participation of the Russian national team will be of great importance for the development of rugby league in Russia,” he said from Moscow. “Matches played by the national team will be covered in the media, and shown on both TV and internet channels. This could 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. “That is, the current number of teams still operative which, despite all difficulties (especially those related to financing) continue to develop rugby league,” Korolev confirmed.
Fourteen members of the squad, including veterans Alexandr Lysokon and Petr Botnarash, come from the 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 here since 1993 and since 2013 the ARLK have been conducting them,” he added. “Locomotive Moscow have collected a record eleven championship, Kazan Arrows next with four, while the oldest team, Moscow Magicians, have been champions once and RK Vereya ttwide, first 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,” Koralev continued. “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|