С победой, Медведи!



A second close win in consecutive weeks has seen the 2012/13 European Shield get off to a fantastic start. Last week Germany held their nerve to triumph 25-24 over Serbia but they were left chasing the match against the Russians, just falling short despite a hat trick from full-back Leeds Rhino Jimmy Keinhorst.

His feat was matched by Igor Churpin as the resolute Russians, superbly led by half backs Aleksandr Lysokon and Artem Grigoryan and up 32-10 with 25 minutes remaining, wilted in the Heidelberg heat, conceding three tries in a six-minute period but managing to hold on for a well deserved victory. “The German players were bigger than us so at the end we were very tired and just hanging on,” said Lysokon. “We know each other quite well and that helped our performance.”

A lively start by the visitors gave them a healthy lead, Eduard Ososkov - giving Russia an influential and creative midfield triumvirate - chipping to the left for Rustam Bulanov to score after nine minutes. Just before the quarter way point, a repeat set put Russia in a good attacking position from where the classy Lysokon put Chuprin through a gap to score between the posts. Soon after, another slick Ososkov-Lysokon combination allowed loose forward Sergey Gaponov to find Chuprin who again charged through a gap to score.

On the half hour Grigoryan switched the attack to the blind side and his superb long cut-out pass uncovered Bulanov who went over untouched at the corner for his second. Down 20-0 Germany needed to find a spark and they did through Yassin Ayachi, who broke up the middle. Two successive penalties kept the pressure on but Russia hung on. The Bears then handed possession back to Germany after they were penalised in possession and Jimmy Keinhorst stepped neatly through to make it 20-6 at the interval.

Russia seemed in again a minute after the restart, only for Bulanov to drop the ball in the act of scoring. Jimmy Keinhorst registered his second on 47 minutes to make it 20-10 but visiting hooker Vladimir Vlasyuk then darted out of dummy half, drawing the full-back before feeding the supporting Alexey Volkov who crossed.

Three minutes later Russia extended their lead after a terrific break by Lysokon ended with a pinpoint pass to Chuprin for his hat trick score; Lysokon’s fourth goal making it 32-10 but that signalled Germany’s exciting comeback.

Germany right winger Mawuli Amefia broke a tackle and raced away from 40-metres on 65 minutes. Then Gaponov was sin-binned for dissent, putting his tiring team-mates under even more pressure and from the resulting set hooker Josh Danzey scored from close range to pull the hosts back to within two scores. With only nine minutes remaining, Jimmy Keinhorst chipped and re-gathered, beating the cover to take his personal tally to 16 points but it was not enough as Russia hung on grimly to go top of the table.

“The opening 30 minutes didn’t do us any favours,” Jimmy Keinhorst commented. “There were a lot of mistakes. We did a lot better in the second half but that just needed to come a lot earlier. It shows how well we think we can do in this championship that we’re so disappointed with the loss. A couple of years back we’d have been a long way off Russia.”

Jimmy Keinhorst, Christoph Huber, Nico Koch, Nick Keinhorst, Mawuli Amefia, Damien Seibold, Kristian Keinhorst, Ben Behr-Heyder, Joshua Danzey, Thomas Isaak, Fabrice Fehlemann Sebastian Roczyn, Yassin Ayachi, Jens Schmidt, Sven Wettzel, Gregor Haartmann, Daniel Lortz

Maksim Suchkov, Roman Safronov, Eduard Ososkov, Rustam Bulanov, Alexey Volkov, Aleksandr Lysokon, Artem Grigoryan, Andrey Sevostyanov, Vladimir Vlasyuk, Vladimir Gotsulyak, Alexey Nikloaev, Vadim Fedchuk, Sergey Gaponov, Igor Chuprin, Mikhail Burlutskiy, Zakir Priznyakov