Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Rugby in Russia

Rugby Back (in the former) USSR

The Russian Federation, or Russia as its known to friend and enemy alike, despite conceding nearly 25% of its territory to the sovereign wave of the “nutsy 90s” in the latter stages of the 20th Century, is yet the largest nation on earth in total land mass. It is also one of three regions on the planet where rugby is currently being played due shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Russia Premier League Rugby gets into its fifth week of competition upcoming and the outcomes of a couple contests may change the complexion of the current chart, which contains three undefeateds.
            Bulava Taganrog (0) v (1) CSKA – both unwon, not for long one might think; a lower table clash that may see the unwinner fast into darkest dungeon deep of the RPL;
            Metallurg (16) v (13) Krasny Yar – numbers three and four on the chart, respectively, should be a Siberian cracker, wot?
            VVA (10) v (0) Bogatiri – this result should see the Saracens-connected, 5th-ranked home club maintain pace with the Big Buoys;
            Lokomotiv (16) v (9) Strela – should be good, crashing stuff in the city on the banks of the Sura; wotcher, ‘Motiv?
            Slava Moscow (5) v (16) Yenisey STM  - travelers nearly lost their blemishless record last outing by losing points-total in the second stanza; Slava ain’t no chumps and will be striving to exploit any STM disadvantage.
Current Table

           RPL – from whence its membership hails

RPL Siberian (Asian) franchises: east of the Ural Mountains - the Urals run north-south, effectively splitting Russia and forming a vertical (if you will) continental divide; moreso as that range of moderate heights (highpoint = 6,217 ft.) marks a relative boundary of Europe and Asia; three of the top four clubs currently on the table are of that region.
A.     Metallurg, or RC Novokuznetsk: located in the southern Siberian city of Novokuznetsk; average lows in winter, December – February, are negative double-digits Fo; coal mining, heavy industry, half-million population; situated along the Tom River; less than 300 air miles from its nearest RPL competition at Krasnoyarsk, though it’s a 10+ hours bus trip, and Novokuznetsk is nearly 2,000 miles from Moscow.
       B. and C.    Krasny Yar and Yenisey-STM: both clubs are resident of the Trans-Siberian railroad town of Krasnoyarsk, situated in the southwestern portion of the vast expanse (77% of total Russian land area) that is Siberia, on either side of the Yenisey River; the industry-based city of over one million souls eagerly anticipates the duels between these franchises; in 14-from-22 years between 1992 and 2013, either one or the other were National Champs and STM currently holds that title; STM, as Russian Champion, played in the EPCR Challenge Cup last season and were outscored by a ratio of 3+-to-1.

RPL European franchises: west of the Urals: 
D.  Lokomotiv RC: located in the city of Penza some 350 miles southeast of Moscow, ‘Motiv are showing strong thus far this season and share the three-way knot for first in the league.
E.   VVA Podmoskovye RC: when it was not one of the Krasnoyarsk teams taking the title 1992-2013, it was this XV, who’re in Saracens global network, who were crowned national champs; this is kind of an All-Star team from the Greater Moscow area.
F.   Strela RC: club is situated at Kazan some 450 miles east of Moscow at the terminus of a high-speed rail line that touts a 3-hour transit; Kazan is known as a multi-cultural city of better than one million population.
G.   Slava RC: a second club from the capitol, called Glory and known as Arrows RC, this XV are always game, but on occasion find it difficult to compete with the better funded clubs in the league.
H.   CSKA RC: another Moscow club, CSKA have gained investments funds and project to contention for the league crown within five years; they’ve a recently-constructed stadium and look to a bright future.
I.    Bulava RC: out of Taganrog, a seaport on the Gulf of the Same Name nearly 600 miles south of Moscow on the Azov Sea; the Azov is a northeast offshoot of the Black Sea; the city boasts the birthplace of the estimable Anton Chekhov; a base of the White Russian forces during the Russian Revolution after WWI in the early part of the 20th Century.
J.    Bogatiri RC: homegrounds in the city of Krasnodar, about 750 miles south from Moscow and thus 150ish due south of Taganrog; however, it’s a 4-plus hour land ride; end of the day they’re at the end of our list and end of the chart just now as things are in the Russian Premier League.

MASK UP and we play again!

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