Saturday, May 24, 2014


Germany v Russia in Hamburg (WCQ Europe R5 Playoff)

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Venue: Wolfgang-Meyer-Sportanlage

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Referee: Iñaki Atorrasagasti (Spain)

Both teams have had very different paths towards this stage of the European section towards qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The winner heads directly to the repechage stage and for the loser the World Cup campaign is over.

Russia is where it is due to a third placing behind Georgia and Romania in the European Nations Cup 2012-14 competition, which doubled as a World Cup Qualifying event. None of its performances were inspiring this season and they looked well off the pace set by both Georgia and Romania. This will be a levelling factor in its chances against Germany.

Germany on the other hand have continued to improve over the last two seasons. They have played at the level below that of Russia in ENC 1B. Germany won that competition and the right to be automatically promoted to ENC 1A, and joining Russia, for the 2014-16 competition. So bright days ahead for German rugby. It is to be hoped that their experience will not be that of Belgium who were promoted to ENC 1A after the 2010-12 competition but did not survive, being relegated to 1B for 2014-16.

Controversy is never far away when covering Rugby World Cup qualifying games. The big problem that lower IRB ranked teams have is availability of key players who ply their trade with big European club sides.Justin Melck, easily Germany’s best player, has not been released by the English side Saracens.For a team such as Germany, this is a huge blow.

An interesting change in the way crucial qualifying matches are staged sees the higher ranked side playing in the lower ranked team’s backyard. Russia travels to Hamburg for this one-off qualifier. If they win Russia will proceed to the first repechage round with a game against Uruguay.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table: Russia 9th, Germany 15th

IRB Ranking Points
Russia 62.58, Germany 58.03

Prediction: Russia by 10 points


Germany Squad
Sean Armstrong (Heidelberger RK)
Kehoma Brenner (Heidelberger RK)
Anjo Buckman (Heidelberger RK)
Samuel Füchsel (Heidelberger RK)
Christopher Hilsenbeck (US Colomiers, France)
Christopher Howells (TV Pforzheim)
Alexander Hug (TSV Handschuhsheim)
Steffen Liebig (Heidelberger RK)
Robert May (TV Pforzheim)
Timothy Menzel (USA Perpignan, France)
Robert Mohr (DSV Hannover 78)
Julius Nostadt (Lyon Olympique Universitaire Rugby, France)
Raphael Pyrasch (Heidelberger RK)
Clemens von Grumbkow (I Cavalieri Rugby, Italy)
Umberto Pilla (San Dona Rugby, Italy)
Carlos Soteras-Merz (TV Pforzheim)
Marten Strauch (SC Neuenheim)
Mark Sztyndera (SC Frankfurt 1880)
Mika Tyumenev ( Stade Montois, France)
Timo Vollenkemper (TV Pforzheim)
Alexander Widiker (Heidelberger RK)
Manuel Wilhelm (RG Heidelberg)
Arthur Zeiler (Heidelberger RK)
Head Coach: Kobus Potgieter

Adapted from

Russia Squad (Extended)

Mogamed Davudov (VVA Saracens)
Andrey Igretsov (Slava-CSP Moscow)
Sergey Sekisov (VVA Saracens)
Grigory Tsnobiladze (Krasny Yar)
Alexey Volkov (VVA Saracens)
Innokenty Zykov (Enisey-STM)
Evgeny Matveev (VVA Saracens)
Stanislav Selsky (Enisey-STM)
Valery Tsnobiladze (Krasny Yar)
Pavel Butenko (Enisey-STM)
Kirill Kulemin (Sale Sharks, England)
Alexander Voytov (VVA Saracens)
Artem Fatakhov (VVA Saracens)
Andrey Garbuzov (Krasny Yar)
Viktor Gresev (Krasny Yar)
Alexander Khudyakov (Krasny Yar)
Andrey Temnov (Enisey-STM)
Alexey Shcherban (Enisey-STM)
Alexander Yanyushkin (VVA Saracens)
Yuri Kushnarev (Enisey-STM)
Anton Ryabov (Metallurg Novokuznetsk)
Sergey Yanyushkin (VVA Saracens)
Mikhail Babaev (VVA Saracens)
Dimitry Gerasimov (Enisey-STM)
Alexey Makovetsky (Krasny Yar)
Igor Galinovsky (Krasny Yar)
Vladimir Ostroushko (Kuban Krasnodar)
Andrey Otrokov (Krasny Yar)
Ramil Gaisin (Enisey-STM)
Igor Klyuchnikov (VVA Saracens)

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