Wales 74 def. Russia 4
- Match URL
- Sunday, 26th October, 2003
- Kick Off
- 3:00 PM (local time)
- Glen Black
- Talbot Athletic Ground (Port Talbot)
|Adam HUGHES||3||T||Sergey DOBRYNIN|
|Paul ATCHESON (c)||1||FB||1||Oleg SOKOLOV|
|Hefin O'HARE||2||W||2||Rinat CHAMSOUTDINOV|
|Kris TASSELL||3||C||3||Igor GAVRILIN|
|Adam HUGHES||4||C||4||Vladimir OVCHINNIKOV|
|Lenny WOODARD||5||W||5||Sergey DOBRYNIN|
|Aled JAMES||6||FE||6||Viktor NECHAEV|
|Mark LENNON||7||HB||7||Denis NIKOLSKI|
|Robert ROBERTS||8||FR||8||Petr SOKOLOV|
|Ian WATSON||9||HK||9||Roman OVCHINNIKOV|
|Justin MORGAN||10||FR||10||Aleksandr LYSENKOV|
|Jordan JAMES||11||2R||11||Robert ILYASOV|
|Chris MORLEY||12||2R||12||Kirill KOULYOMIN|
|Kevin ELLIS||13||L||13||Evgeny BOJOUKOV|
|Damian GIBSON||14||B||14||Aidar AKHMETSKIN|
|Allan BATEMAN||15||B||15||Jan GVOZDEV|
|Gareth PRICE||16||B||16||Andrey ZHUKOV|
|Damien HUDD||17||B||17||Ruslan IZMAILOV|
|Neil KELLY||COACH||Eugene KLEBANOV|
by SIMON DAVIES
Wales made sure of a confidence boosting victory before next week's showdown with World Champions Australia as they ran in fourteen tries to defeat the Russian Tourists 74-4 and throw down the gauntlet to England A who they meet in the probable group decider in two weeks' time.
Russian rugby league has made great strides in recent years culminating in the Student World Cup three years ago and the inclusion of two clubs in the Challenge Cup earlier this year. Their players were fit, talented and well-disciplined but ultimately they could not compete with a Wales side made up of seasoned professionals such as Kevin Ellis and Allan Bateman, Super League stalwarts like Adam Hughes, Paul Atcheson and Mark Lennon, and promising locals from the Wales's Rugby League Conference including Lenny Woodard of the Bridgend Blue Bulls and Damien Hudd of Torfaen Tigers. Aled James, who recently made the transition from Cardiff Demons to Widnes Vikings illustrates the extent of emerging talent in the Welsh game.
Centre Adam Hughes opened the scoring for Wales inside the first minute after Russia knocked on at the play the ball. Hefin O'Hare extended Wales's lead to 8 on seven minutes with a 75 yard sprint having received the ball from a kick deep in his own territory. On nine minutes Scrum-half Mark Lennon found a gap for Adam Hughes who made twenty yards before returning the pass to Lennon who scored under the posts for a 14-0 lead after Watson's conversion. But the Russian's responded with the try of the game. On the last tackle Igor Gavrilin dummied a kick and exploited the gap created to gain thirty yards. He passed in-field to Robert Iliassov who found Nikolski running towards the left. Roman Outchinnikov was in support ten yards out and delivered the final pass to Sergei Dobrynin who went in for a memorable score.
Wales replied with a try from Robert Roberts created by Kevin Ellis to restore their lead to 18-4, and after further pressure form Russia the Dragons stamped their authority on the game on 30 minutes when Aled James found O'Hare who offloaded to Tassle allowing Ian Watson to score in the corner. Then Ellis side-stepped his way through traffic on half way to roll back the years and sprint 50 yards to score. Ellis then fed Bridgend's Lennie Woodard who was able to outpace the cover on the left wing. Adam Hughes's conversion made the half-time score 34-4 to Wales.
Russia were unable to get on the scoreboard again in a second half disrupted by injuries, but did threaten on several occasion after good work by their half backs Victor Netchaev and Denis Nikolski. Allan Bateman was the first to touch down for Wales when Paul Atcheson set him up to score on the wide right. Russia held out for a further twenty minutes until Lenny Woodard broke away to score under the posts. Gareth Price went in after a run from half-way then Joradan James picked up a loose ball 20 yards out for an eleventh Welsh try. Adam Hughes took his try tally to three with further touchdowns on 69 and 73 minutes, and local favourite Lenny Woodard achieved the same mark when Damien Gibson put him to score three minutes from time.
Wales coach Neil Kelly commented "This is my first win as Wales Coach - it's a worthy reward for the players. It was good to see Kevin Ellis do so well - some eyebrows were raised by picking him but he more than justified his selection. The younger lads also did very well. They will be the nucleus of the side in the future and I've been impressed with the Conference players like Woodard and Hudd, we'll be looking closely at that league for more new recruits. The Russians worked hard and made it a physical game for us which is what we needed. But we're well aware it will be very different next week!"
Meanwhile Russian Eugene Klebanov was disappointed with the result. "We haven't met teams at this level for a long time. We could have played better but were too soft and ball control left much to be desired. I was pleased with the try, but it was a pity we counldn't have scored more."
This match is a part of the following:
Contributions: Cymru RL