Serbia: 4
Russia: 6

    Zogović (39), Stevanović (65)
    Konstantinov (21, 47), Lysokon (55, 74)

    Zogović 1/2
    Ososkov 3/3, Lysokon 1/1

Drop goals
    Lysokon 0/1

Match report


Victory over Italy at the end of June will see Russia claim the European Shield after a win over Serbia in a feisty clash in Belgrade, in front of a partisan crowd. Two-try prop Sergey Konstantinov was the star, the Russian powerhouse ending the game with a broken arm that will eliminate him from the Italy game.

“We knew it would be tough,” he said. “Serbia gave everything, they are so hard to play against but we managed to get some go forward.”

The hosts were in contention until Aleksandr Lysokon’s second try six minutes from time but too often they lost their composure in promising positions. That was evident in the 19th minute when Serbia full back Miloš Zogović made a 50 metre break only to find his pass intercepted by Alexey Mikhaylov. Zogović then fumbled a clearing kick and Konstantinov powered over for the opening score, Bears player/coach Eduard Ososkov converting.

Dmitriy Bratko lost possession in his own quarter, Dalibor Vukanović and Stefan Nedeljković just held out on Serbia’s first meaningful foray; Vojislav Dedić’s kick just running dead. Stevan Stevanović made a 50 metre break down the left and although the hosts gained a repeat set from it and forced Bratko to concede a drop out, they could not turn their pressure into points. A minute before the break, on the back of a forward pass from the base of a scrum by Ososkov, Serbia struck, Nedeljković with a long pass sending in Zogović out wide for an unconverted try.

Tactically more astute, Russia took control in the opening quarter hour of the second period. Bratko was just forced into touch in the corner after a thrilling run from half way but, on the back of consecutive penalties, Konstantinov crashed over from the tap, Lysokon goaling.

Mikhaylov made ground, Vukanović with a despairing tackle, Lysokon then stepping his way to the line and converting to make it 18-4. Serbia changed tactics with Nedeljković running wider and becoming more of a threat and, on the back of it, Stevanović crossed in the 65th minute, Zogović adding the extras.

With the home crowd becoming increasingly impassioned, Lysokon’s superb dummy and go sealed the outcome, his third goal completing the scoring. As time ran out and with their high hopes dashed, Serbian skipper Vukanović was sent off for dissent.

Pictured: Sergey Konstantinov is tackled by Stefan Nedeljkovic.
Miloš Zogović, Marko Ćuk, Miloš Ćalić, Stevan Stevanović, Nebojša Živanović, Vojislav Dedić, Dalibor Vukanović, Mile Podkoljnjak, Vojislav Dedić, Vladica Nikolić, Marko Milenković, Nemanja Božić, Stefan Nedeljković, Strahinja Jevtić, Velibor Srećkovic, Mirko Božović, Filip Stoši

Maksim Suchkov, Rustam Bulanov, Alexey Mikhaylov, Vadim Fedchuk, Dmitriy Bratko, Aleksandr Lysokon, Eduard Ososkov, Sergey Konstantinov, Vladimir Vlasyuk, Anatoly Grigorev, Alexey Nikolaev, Grigory Esin, Sergey Gaponov, Igor Chuprin, Sergey Beliavskiy, Andrey Sevostianov, Kirill Nechaev