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8 Nov, 2008 15:45

One step closer to the Rugby World Cup

Russia’s national rugby squad has taken their first step towards reaching the Rugby World Cup after kicking off their European Nations Cup campaign with an impressive victory over Spain.

Although Russia has never taken part in the Rugby World Cup, this time the team may have a real chance of qualifying for the tournament in two years time. The current European Nations Cup allows the two top teams in the group stage to make the finals in New Zealand in 2011.

Russia finished second to Georgia in the last tournament, having lost just two of ten matches. Georgia on the other hand, lost only once and that encounter was against Spain.

During the season opener guests Spain scored with a penalty in the first few minutes. Russia responded with a set piece of their own to equalize and then another one to take the lead.

Twice fly-half Yury Kushnarev made it past the line, meaning the hosts didn't wait long to extend their lead with a try and a conversion, taking the score to 13-3.

Spain reduced the deficit by five points, only for Russia to pull ahead with the score 23-8 at halftime.

The guests had multiple opportunities to score from penalties throughout the match, but it wasn't Matthew Gratton's day and Spain’s fly-half kicked wide of the posts each time.

With an outstanding final score of 42-15 fans at Moscow’s sold out Slava stadium are now pumped up and ready for the rest of the season.