23 May 2011

On Saturday Russia launched its world cup campaign with a trial match between Moscow and Moscow Region at Krasny Baltiets in Moscow. The result, a 20-30 victory for the country side, was classified by Russian rugby league official Alexander Volkov as "one of the best in Russian rugby league's recent history". The city side trailed 18-12 at the break but there was to be no overture for them as Moscow Region managed to stay in front.

The match was watched by Widnes Vikings assistant Stuart Wilkinson, who is currently in Moscow to run a series of coaching clinics with the domestic clubs, who commenced their season last week. Volkov, who will work alongside incoming Russian national coach Vinny Webb later this month, was satisfied with the progress Russia's elite players are making. "I am confident the Russian national team will reach a decent standard soon," he said. The two sides meet again, in Vereya, on 9 September, a little over a month before their world cup qualification campaign begins with an away match in Italy.