Russia’s Head Coach Alexander Pervukhin has named his squad to face Spain in Madrid in the opening match of their 2017 European Nations International Championship campaign. The entirety of the named squad is domestically based, with all of the players coming from five Russian Premier League teams.
Cohesion among the team can be expected to be high, with 14 of the 31 players playing their trade at Enisei-STM of Krasnoyarsk, eight of whom are backs. Local rivals Krasny Yar provide the second highest number of squad members with seven, closely followed by Kuban Krasnodar with six. Only four players have been picked from Moscow region clubs, three from VVA Saracens and lone forward Sergei Chernyeshev representing Slava.
Whilst a large chunk of the squad will be comfortable playing alongside each other, Enisei-STM’s recent form on the road in the Challenge Cup was not indicative of an in-form team, with the most recent game a 57-14 loss against Aviva Premiership strugglers Worcester Warriors. In addition to this, a handful of key performers such as fullback Denis Simplikevich and hooker Stanislav Selskiy missing and the Russian Premier League’s winter break hampering game preparedness, the Russians could be in for a challenge against a Spain team looking for an upset.
Russia will play a warm-up match on Saturday against the British army in La Vila.
Full Squad :
Props : Andrei Polivalov, Evgeny Pronenko (Enisei-STM), Azamat Bitiev (Krasny Yar), Magomed Davudov (Kuban Krasnodar), Vladmir Podrezov (VVA Saracens).
Hookers : Nazir Gasanov (Kuban Krasnodar), Sergei Chernyshev (Slava, Moscow).
Locks : Evgeny Elgin (Enisei-STM), Bogdan Fedotko, Andrei Garbuzov (Krasny Yar), Dmitry Gritsenko (Kuban Krasnodar).
Back row : Pavel Butenko, Dmitry Krotov, Anton Rudoi (Enisei-STM), Viktor Gresev (Krasny Yar), Tagir Gadzhiev, (Kuban Krasnodar), Daniel Chegodaev (VVA Saracens).
Scrum-halves : Alexey Shcherban (Enisei-STM), Anton Ryabov (Krasny Yar).
Fly-halves : Alexander Budychenko, Yuri Kushnarev (Enisei-STM), Sergei Sugrobov (Kuban Krasnodar).
Centres : Dmitry Gerasimov (Enisei-STM), Igor Galinovsky (Krasny Yar), Evgeny Nepeivoda (Kuban Krasnodar), Sergei Trishin (VVA Saracens).
Wingers : Igor Kurashov, Alexei Mikhaltsov, Konstantin Uzunov (Enisei-STM), Vasily Artemev (Krasny Yar).
Full back : Ramil Gaisin (Enisei-STM).