Melbourne Rebels star bolsters Russian Rugby World Cup squad

Adam Byrnes
With just over two weeks to go until the start of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Russia hope to bring back their Melbourne Rebels star, Adam Byrnes, for their final warm-up match against Gloucester on Friday.

Coach Nikolay Nerush said the lock, whose maternal grandparents are both Russian, should be fit for the clash in England and will feature in a team that will more-or-less be the one that will face the USA in their World Cup opener in New Plymouth on September 15.

Russia have lost all three of their warm-up games in Britain so far, with the latest one being a hefty 46-19 loss to the Ospreys.

However, Nerush, who announced his 30-man squad for the World Cup on Tuesday, is pleased with his side's progress ahead of their first appearance in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the coach of hosts New Zealand believes he has a potent side for the tournament.

Graham Henry announced his squad selection ahead of their Tri-Nations clash with Australia on Saturday.

Surprise selections included the relatively inexperienced Colin Slade.

The 23-year-old will act as back-up for fly-half Dan Carter.

While Sitiveni Sivivatu has missed out, though Henry admits he feels for the veteran back.

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