Preview: Scotland v Russia
Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Fukuroi City
Wednesday 09 October, Kick-off: 09.15 (BST), 4.15pm (local time)
Scotland have played Russia at various international levels (Scotland A, Scotland 7s, Scotland Women) but the two teams have never met at international Test level.
Russia at a glance
Coached by former Wales internationalist Lyn Jones, the team finished runners-up in the 2019 World Rugby Nations Cup earlier this summer with wins over Argentina XV and Namibia. Russia qualified as a result of a complex player ineligibility scandal that rocked fellow European teams Belgium, Spain and Romania, the latter of whom would have topped the group and gone on to line up against Scotland and the rest of Pool A. Russia opened the tournament in Tokyo, losing to host nation Japan in the opening fixture.
Rugby World Cup record
This is Russia’s second appearance at a Rugby World Cup, having first played at the 2011 tournament in New Zealand. (They just missed out on qualification for the last Rugby World Cup, winning a European play-off against Germany before losing to Uruguay over two legs.) Russia remain on the hunt for their maiden Rugby World Cup victory, having lost their previous seven encounters. They lost their four pool games at the 2011 tournament in a tough group that included Australia, Ireland, Italy and USA, and in their opening three games in Japan have to lost Japan (10-30), Samoa (9-34) and Ireland (0-35).
What Chris Paterson thinks
Before the tournament, Chris said: “Russia have been disappointing of late - they’re not as consistent or as strong as they’ve been in previous world cups. They had a heavy defeat against Italy in the warm-ups (losing 85-15) and while we don’t know what stage they were at in their preparations, hopefully Scotland’s strength and depth can allow us to be successful.”
Vasily Artemyev is a name known to British rugby followers, the Russia captain having enjoyed a couple of fruitful years with Northampton Saints, having learned his trade at Blackrock College in Dublin. A versatile back, Artemyev is deployed either on the wing or at full-back for his national team, and the hopes of a nation very much rest on his shoulders as the sole star name in Lyn Jones’ squad. The former Saint has notched 30 tries for Russia over the course of a decade-long international career and famously scored a try at the 2011 World Cup against Ireland in the pool stages.
One to watch
Yuri Kushnarev may have just turned 34, but the Russian playmaker will be utterly crucial to any faint hopes of registering a win during the 2019 World Cup. The stand-off made a try-scoring international debut some 14 years ago against the Czech Republic and has gone on to represent Russia over 100 times, scoring nearly 800 points in the process. If the rank outsiders are to have any hope of springing a surprise against Scotland, Kushnarev must be on his mettle in order to pierce through the opposition defence in Russia’s final Pool A match.
Watching on TV?
In the UK the Scotland v Russia game will be shown live on ITV, kicking off at 8.45am (BST)
Find out where to watch: rugbyworldcup.com/broadcasters