Russia head coach Lyn Jones has named his 31-man squad for Japan 2019, including eight players who also appeared during the Bears’ Rugby World Cup debut in New Zealand eight years ago.
Eight survivors from Russia's last and only previous Rugby World Cup campaign will be present in Japan after being named in Lyn Jones' 31-man squad for Rugby World Cup 2019.
Vasily Artemyev, Victor Gresev, Yuri Kushnarev, Evgeny Matveev, Vladimir Ostroushko, Denis Simplikevich, Andrei Garbuzov and Andrei Ostrikov all played at New Zealand 2011, where Russia were beaten by Australia, Ireland, Italy and the USA to finish bottom of Pool C.
Their quest for a first Rugby World Cup win will begin against hosts Japan in Tokyo on the opening night and the Bears will subsequently play Samoa, in Kumagaya on 24 September, Ireland, in Kobe on 3 October, and Scotland in Fukuroi six days later.
Only two of the 31 players selected by Jones currently ply their trade outside of Russia. Second-row Ostrikov left Sale Sharks at the end of last season to sign for French side Grenoble, while prop Valery Morozov is still on the books of the English Premiership club.
One player to look out for is 32-year-old prop Kirill Gotovtsev. The tight-head only converted to rugby just over a year ago after representing his country in both the two-man bobsleigh and wrestling and can now look forward to packing down with the best in the business.
Jones was appointed as head coach in August 2018 after Russia had qualified for Japan 2019 once Romania, Spain and Belgium were docked points for fielding ineligible players during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships.
He has since overseen two victories over fellow Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifiers Namibia, a win against an Argentina XV as well as a narrow 32-27 defeat to hosts Japan in Gloucester last year, but the Bears won just two of five matches during the 2019 Rugby Europe Championship.
Russia lost their only Rugby World Cup warm-up test in August 85-15 against Italy and Jones will hope his side fare better once they land in Japan.
Russia Rugby World Cup squad:
Forwards: Azamat Bitiev, Andrey Garbuzov, Kirill Gotovtsev, Victor Gresev, Bogdan Fedotko, Vitaliy Zhivatov, Evgeny Matveev, Andrey Polivalov, Vladimir Podrezov, Evgeny Yelgin, Stanislav Selsky, Nikita Vavilin, Sergey Chernyshev, Tagir Gadzhiev, Roman Khodin, Andrei Ostrikov, Valery Morozov, Anton Sychev.
Backs: Vasily Artemyev, Igor Galinovsky, Kirill Golosnitsky, Vasily Dorofeev, Yuri Kushnarev, German Davydov, Dmitry Perov, Vladislav Sozonov, Dmitry Gerasimov, Ramil Gaysin, Denis Simplikevich, Vladimir Ostroushko, Sergey Yanyushkin.
Via: World Rugby