17 Mar 2011

The RARLC has been boosted by the admission of two established clubs to the governing body’s ranks, in Lestech St. Petersburg and RBK Moscow. The north-western outfit was formed by students of the prestigious St. Petersburg Academy but had been in hiatus since the club’s participation in the Russian championship from 2000-2006. Lestech manager: Novick Nicholay was looking forward to re-integrating his teams into the league set-up: “We have joined the RARLC as our club is keen to play rugby league and the RARLC offers some interesting and attractive competitions for the 2011 season which allow our best players to fight for a place in the national team.”

RBK Moscow, originally created as the RBK Youth Club, has a rich pedigree, having provided several players for  Lokomotiv Rugby League Club, the all-conquering power in Russian rugby league until they defected to rugby union in 2009. Veteran Muscovite rugby league official Shamil Akbulatov is the RBK’s manager. A former Loko youth coach from 1994, in 2005 he took control of the Russian junior national team that participated at the 2005 junior championships.

Akbulatov has had a hand in the training and development of some notable Russian national team players such as D. Nicholas, P. Ovchinnikov, E. Bozhukov. Akbulatov is bullish about the future following a number of uncertain years: “We are happy to join RARLC. We have developed a whole generation of players, we love rugby league and could never do without the sport. RARLC is the only organization in Russia that unites all the sport’s enthusiasts, and I’m glad to have read its plans and to see it is organising competitions on different levels. Participating in these competitions will allow us to carry on developing our rugby league skills as well as providing an opportunity to have our representatives in the national squad – not only players but our coaches too.”

In other news, a result of negotiations between the RLEF, IMG and the broadcaster NTV Plus, a third consecutive season of Super League has started on Russian television.