When did Russia start playing rugby?

Updated: 9/28/2023
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11y ago

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The first rugby match recorded was in the 1880s and this was orchestrated by a Scotsman called Mr Hooper. However, in 1886 the Russian police clamped down on the game as it was felt by the Zsar that the game was likely to incite riots and demonstration's the period 1908 some games were still being played and in 1923 the first formal game was played in Moscow. In 1934 the Moscow Championship was started, and in 1936 the first Soviet Championship took place.

The game was more or less banned for a number of years in the Soviet Union because of an incident in a final in Moscow, when supporters of Llanelli and a Bucharest team were involved in a braw. In 1949, rugby union was forbidden in the USSR during the "fight against the cosmopolitanism". The competitions were resumed in 1957, and the Soviet Championship in 1966. In 1975 the Soviet national team played their first match.

When the Soviet Union broke up, there were two main consequences - firstly the loss of a much larger pool of players and fans, and secondly, the defection of many players to rugby league, which had previously been frowned on by the Soviet authorities. The two main areas for Russian rugby were to be Moscow and Siberia, and to a lesser extent, Leningrad/St Petersburg.

The most notable Russian player perhaps is Dimitri Mironov who played for the Barbarians several times during the 1980s

The game remains to be a growing force in Russia with many now taking up the game at some very impressive levels

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12y ago
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11y ago

It started early in the 1930s at club formation level and then formally was founded in 1936 originally as the Rugby Union of the Soviet Union

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Q: When did Russia start playing rugby?
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