What will change with the election of Mamuka Losaberidze

The election of Mamuka Losaberidze will generate some changes inside Russian rugby. His program is probably the most ambitious one ever seen in Russia.

The first big question is not directly related to his program, but his campaign. Few days before the election, national head coach Alexander Pervukhin officially declared against Mamuka Losaberidze. He published an open letter within which he said Mamuka Losaberidze wasn’t an enough experienced man for the job, that a former player wouldn’t be a good president, he accused him of lying about the finances. He’s been very far to discredit the eventual elected president.

Anyway, Alexander Pervukhin became the coaching face of Russia. He took the national job in 2014 after Raphaël Saint-André failed to qualify Russia for RWC 2015. During his tenure, he failed to obtain any meaningless wins (excepting a three-point win against a rebuilding Romania in 2015) which lead Mamuka Losaberidze to say Russia was catch up by lower nations because staggering. But Alexander Pervukhin brightly succeeds with Enisei-STM, giving him a unique stature in Russian rugby. Sources inside Russian rugby definitely say Alexander Pervukhin won’t quit and will keep his job.

Concerning the top competitions, Mamuka Losaberidze is convinced the RRPL can go further and expand. He wants to support pro rugby in regions where rugby is growing. RRPL top division should expand quickly to Saint Petersburg, Penza, Kazan and Perm. More Moscow teams should be supported as well.  The new president would like to repeat Kuban’s exemple. Krasnodar’s club lead by new vice-president Fedor Musatov smashed the RRPL 2016 season.

Considered as an exclusive 7s club for years, Kuban gave a fright to the top teams in his inaugural season. They reached the final of the new Russian Cup after beating VVA Saracens in semi-final. Kuban broadcasted every home matches on Youtube and attracted few thousands spectators for big games. Fedor Musatov used every ways he can to market his club.

Also, the new president would like to exploit World Rugby rules and recruit players with Russian roots and foreigners living in Russia since three years for the national team. First row and second row are positions to improve in Russia. Locks Serge Sergueev and Russlan Boukerou could be called in the national team as soon as in February.

Mamuka Losaberidze wants also to benefit from Enisei-STM and Krasny Yar excellent results in the European competitions to improve Russia’s influence in EPCR competitions. He proposed the winner of the Russian Cup to be the third team in EPCR competitions. Currently, that would be Kuban or VVA Saracens.

In the long term, the new president wants to help the construction of new stadiums in RRPL He also proposed to use football stadiums which won’t be used anymore because of newly constructed ones for the FIFA World Cup. Mamuka Losaberidze wants to make Russia a center of rugby in Asia. He would like to incorporate border nations to central competitions. He said he already engage talks with Kazakhstan.