All of the final 22 players named in the Russian squad for their 2017 Rugby League World Cup European Pool B Qualifiers against Ireland and Spain are from the domestic league, as sport re-roots in the nation.
Seven clubs are represented in the selection, with 10 players coming from Vereya side Nara including lynchpin half-back Aleksandr Lysokon.
Executive director of the Russian federation, Denis Korolev, commented: “This year we are very happy with the squad, there is a mixture of some new, young names and established experience. The squad began its preparations only a few weeks ago but the team spirit is already strong.
“All the players missed taking part in regular international matches so much and are doing their best every training session, there is a really friendly and supportive atmosphere. They understand the importance of the games despite the fact that the process is very tough and intensive.
Korolev, who played in the qualifiers for the previous two World Cups added: “Even though getting through is the aim, we’d like to show a new style of playing on the field, there is a desire from the squad to enjoy these games and for the players to express themselves.”
RUSSIA 22-MAN SQUAD
Viacheslav Eremin, Andrey Kuznetsov, (Dynamo), Kirill Kosharin (CSKA Moscow), Ivan Troitskii (Ivanovo White Sharks), Vadim Buryak, Leonid Kalinin, Maxim Tsinkovich (Lokomotiv Moscow), Petr Botnarash, Mikhail Burlutskii, Sergey Gaponov, Anatoly Grigorev, Sergei Konstantinov, Aleksandr Lysokon, Maksim Suchkov, Denis Tiulenev, Vladimir Vlasyuk, Nikolai Zagoskin (Nara), Anton Iunisov, Iustin Petrushka (Moscow Fili), Dmitry Bratko, Igor Chuprin, Vadim Fedchuk (Moscow Storm)