Planet Rugby

Russia still in hunt for RWC berth

02nd August 2014 17:24

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Andrey Garbuzov russia

Andrey Garbuzov

Russia remain in the hunt for the final place at Rugby World Cup 2015 after beating Zimbabwe 23-15 in their Repechage semi-final in Krasnoyarsk on Saturday.

The Bears, bidding to reach a second consecutive tournament, will now face the winner of the match later on Saturday in Montevideo between Uruguay and Hong Kong for the right to join hosts England, Australia, Wales and Fiji in Pool A at RWC 2015.

Fly-half Yuri Kushnarev kicked a third minute penalty but then failed to add the extras to full-back Igor Klyuchnikov's try soon afterwards.

A second try followed for Russia in the 23rd minute when a good break from Vasily Artemyev led to a period of pressure in the Zimbabwe 22, the pressure telling as wing Denis Simplikevich dived over in the corner to make it 13-0.

Zimbabwe replied though as number eight Lambert Groenewald charged through the defence with ease to race away and dot down under the posts on the half-hour mark.

Fly-half Guy Cronje slotted the conversion but then missed a second penalty attempt and Zimbabwe were lucky to go in only six points down after Russia wasted a glorious chance to score on the stroke of half-time.

Flanker Andrey Garbuzov charged across the pitch but instead of passing to Simplikevich for a certain try he got white-line fever and tried to go on his own and was penalised for holding on a metre from the line.

Cronje cut the deficit to 13-10 with a 48th-minute penalty but while he was off the field having a head-wound stitched Russia made Zimbabwe pay for missing touch with a penalty. The Bears attacked quickly and Artemyev sent Victor Gresev clear, the number eight side-stepping the last defender to touch down.

Zimbabwe were given renewed hope when referee Nigel Owens sent Russian prop Andrei Igretsov to the sin-bin just before the hour mark, but replacement Lawrence Tambwera's resulting penalty hit the post and then rebounded off his chasing team-mate's knee to safety to the Bears' relief.

Russia held firm while they were a man down and increased their lead with another Kushnarev penalty with six minutes to go. Zimbabwe, though, battled to the end and were rewarded when wing Tafadzwa Chitokwindo received the ball deep in his own half and raced through the defence to touch down.

It was nothing more than a consolation score, though, as Zimbabwe's hopes of reaching a first Rugby World Cup since 1991 ended in Siberia.

With thanks to the IRB

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