Russia eye North American scalps
November 3, 2012
Russia left their mark at the 2011 World Cup and are targetting qualification for 2015 © Getty Images
Russia head coach Kingsley Jones wants his side to show what they are capable of when they take on the United States and Canada in Colwyn Bay over the next two weeks.
The east Europeans will take part in the IRB International Series at Eirias Park along with Tonga and the two North American sides. The tournament begins with a double-header on November 9 when Tonga take on Canada followed by a repeat of Russia's loss to the USA from last year's World Cup. A week later on November 17 Russia take on Canada, while Tonga play the USA.
"Along with Romania, Russia is usually classed just behind the likes of Fiji, Canada and the USA, so we really need to get some results against the USA and Canada in Colwyn Bay over the next couple of weeks in order to try to climb the rankings," Jones said. "We have two tough Tests, with Canada the following Saturday, but we are determined to do well.
Russia were unable to leave last year's World Cup with a win from their World Cup debut, but they left their mark in matches against Australia, Ireland, Italy and the USA. They will warm up for the tournament with a match against Oxford University and with their determination to build on their performances in New Zealand, the matches will prove crucial as they build up towards qualifying for England 2015.
"Our Rugby World Cup qualification starts in earnest in the New Year, so while I've experimented with a large number of players during the past 12 months, we're bringing our best available players to Wales to really try and make a mark. Everyone was disappointed with our defeat by six points by the USA at the Rugby World Cup, so there will be extra motivation when we face them next Friday night."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship