Russia has spared no expense in putting together a top notch coaching team to support them in this year’s Rugby World Cup. As well as head coach Nikolay Nerush, Russia have hired top British coaches Kinglsey Jones, Henry Paul and Darren Morris.
Nikolay Nerush – As well as coaching the Russian national team, Nerush is the coach of VVA-Podmoskovje, the Moscow based team that has won the Russian national title for past five seasons. He knows his squad’s strengths and weaknesses inside out.
Kingsley Jones – After a stint as head coach of Sale, Jones has spent the past six months as part-time coach of Russia. His knowledge of the game outside of Russia and his international playing experience with Wales will be a tremendous asset when it comes to preparing the team for top-class international opposition. Longer term, his links with British clubs are helping to find places for top Russian players in top flight European rugby.
Henry Paul – Paul, who has represented New Zealand at Rugby League and England at Rugby Union is new to coaching, but his skill and experience has helped to turn Russia’s backs into one of their most potent weapons. Although Russia’s defence has struggled in the warmup matches, it’s testament to Paul’s influence that Russia’s backs are full of running and attacking inventiveness, and that tries have definitely not been in short supply.
Steve Diamond – Although no longer Russian rugby coach, Steve Diamond deserves a mention for his coaching duties before the arrival of Kingsley Jones. Although he has since moved on to become Director of Rugby for British Premier League team Sale Sharks, Diamond was instrumental in Russia’s qualification campaign, and in much of the recent improvement in Russia’s performance.
Darren Morris – Morris is Russia’s third coach with top flight international experience, gained with both Wales and the British and Irish Lions. A forward, he has been tasked with preparing Russia’s scrum, an area where the team has struggled recently.
Check out the video below for some clips of Russian coach Kingsley Jones talking about Russia’s performance on their pre world cup tour of England and Wales.
For more information about how Russia fare in this autumn’s world cup, you can also visit our Russian World Cup homepage.