BEARS PREPARED TO FACE UKRAINE
9th September 2011
The Russian national team has completed its preparations for the international match against Ukraine on Saturday, a key part of its preparations for the world cup qualifiers next month. Former Leeds and Widnes assistant Stuart Wilkinson has taken over the reins of the Bears, and this week led a training camp for 26 of the best players from the Russian league.
Three under-18s players were invited by Wilkinson to train with the seniors, such is their promise. They will join a squad consisting of players from Nevskaya Zastava, RBK, Storm, Threshers and league-leading Vereya. Wilkinson will travel with 20 to Kharkov. The match will be only the second between the two Eastern Europe neighbours and the first in Ukraine. The first meeting, in last year’s European Shield, ended with a convincing Russian victory.
Ukraine, Russia and Serbia will be playing for the Milan Kosanovic Cup, named after Wakefield’s Yugoslavian player of the 1960s, the first Serb to appear at Wembley Stadium in a rugby league match. Ukraine will travel to Serbia at the end of the month, before Russia and Serbia meet in the world cup on 29 October.