Ruck and Maul: Russia warms up for Sevens World Cup with TV and Tchaikovsky

 

High excitement at the London residence of the Russian Ambassador to the UK on Friday, as the Russian men's and women's teams were hosted by Mr Alexander Yakovenko ahead of this weekend's world sevens at Twickenham, to publicise the Rugby World Cup Sevens being hosted in Moscow in June 2013.

The Russians qualified for their first 15-a-side World Cup in New Zealand last autumn and interest in the game is growing, with the Six Nations B match against Spain in Moscow being shown on state television next Saturday.

With a little Tchaikovsky to set the mood in the refined surroundings of Kensington Palace Gardens, the Russian Rugby Federation (RRF) chairman, Vyacheslav Kopiev, told Ruck and Maul: "The Sevens World Cup is a big chance to promote rugby in Russia. We will use the Luzhniki Stadium, which has 80,000 seats so capacity won't be a problem. We also lobbied successfully to have rugby included in the World Student Games for the first time, in Kazan in July 2013."

Kopiev took up rugby as a student at Moscow University of Physics in the early 1970s. Now with 12 professional clubs and 40 playing as amateurs he sees the nationwide inter-schools competition as the highest priority to keep increasing rugby's popularity.

One downside: Russia competed alongside England Saxons in the Churchill Cup in 2010 and 2011 but have been obliged to enter the Nations Cup in Romania this year after the Churchill Cup ended. The RRF have asked the International Board to reconsider or come up with a competition of similar quality.

Jonny may not be on tour but...

Gloucester's Jonny May or Michael Claassens of Bath must surely win the Try of the Season award at the Rugby Players' Association dinner.

May's dashing breakout against Harlequins in February won the gong at the Premiership dinner last Tuesday, and as his and Claassens' score versus London Irish are the only tries among 13 on the two shortlists to appear on both, logic suggests they are the best.

But May's effort wasn't enough to earn him a spot on England's tour to South Africa this summer. The back-three places went to Chris Ashton, Mike Brown, Ben Foden, Alex Goode, Ugo Monye, David Strettle and Christian Wade.

Red Rose, not red wine for Catt

Mike Catt had decided to leave London Irish in February, long before the call came to join England as attack coach for the June tour to his native country. "I would have been putting my feet up, sampling some red wine and taking stock of how things went at London Irish," Catt said of the club who have also seen the head coach Toby Booth and scrum specialist Neal Hatley depart for Bath.

"This is not about me long term, this is about giving the England players exactly what they want to be successful in South Africa. All we're really going at is accuracy in execution of everything we do. I'd really like to get to know the players and get the best out of them. They need to be in the best state of mind they can be to take on the Springboks."

The trip has been likened to the one in 2000 when the same number of players (42) also played five matches, though with two Tests not three, and Catt played with Mike Tindall in the centres.

"The main comparison is the 2000 team had mostly been together for three years, whereas most of the current one have had about 10 weeks," said Catt. "Only three of this squad have toured to South Africa before. We're going to see how many of these guys can really handle the pressure. If you look at Danny Care, Lee Dickson and Ben Youngs at scrum-half, and your fly-halves Owen Farrell, Charlie Hodgson and Toby Flood, there's a lot of competition and I think that's brilliant."

hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project