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The Victory Cup Final BARLA Great Britain Lions 4 v 26 Russia Thursday 20th May 2004 Big Sport Arena, Luzhniky, Moscow
Russia went one better than last year and won the second Victory Cup, despite a brave effort from the BARLA Great Britain Lions.
The success was a great triumph for ex-New Zealand coach Bob Bailey who has galvanised the Russian side into an exciting outfit that kept the 12,000 vocal crowd on their feet for the majority of the match.
The hosts had to come from behind after a magnificent 80 metre try from Lions winger Chris Lee gave BARLA the lead, however Russia hit back to lead 10-4 at the interval.
The Lions had the chance to put points on the board after just two minutes when they were awarded a penalty for offside, but the penalty attempt hit the post and was recovered by the home defence. The Lions continued to apply the pressure and were rewarded after West Hull winger Lee raced in from long range after returning a long kick from Russian full back Oleg Sokolov.
This stirred Russia into action and they slowly forced their way back into the contest as Great Britain continued to lose possession early in the tackle count. The pressure eventually told when after deciding to run a penalty, centre Sergey Dobrynine drove over on the last tackle, with Oleg Toukov adding the extras to edge Russia in front.
Despite the warning signs the Lions continued to cough up the ball and their cause wasn't helped when winger Craig Calvert had to leave the field.
Man of the match Igor Gavrilin kept BARLA down field with his superb kicking game and on 30 minutes he put his side into a 10-4 lead after collecting a loose ball and speeding over from 15 metres out to complete the scoring for the first period.
Early in the second half the Lions had a great opportunity to cut the deficit with a penalty just 20 metres out. However the attempt was again missed and they spent long periods deep inside their own half, mainly due to the large amount of spilled ball.
The turning point of the match arrived in the 52nd minute when the BARLA defence eventually wilted under tremendous Russian forward pressure. It was no surprise when hooker Roman Outchhikov drove over from the play the ball with Toukov again on target.
Following a rush of penalties against the Lions, Russia scored their fourth try six minutes later when Gavrilin fed second rower Kiril Koulemine, and his pass sent winger Vladimir Trofimov over in the corner.
Although the Lions battled on bravely and never let their heads drop they never had enough possession to make any impact on the Russian defence, and it was perhaps no surprise when Koulemine rounded off a superb captains performance when he drove over from 10 metres out to seal the 26-4 win.
With the game as good as over referee Thierry Albert blew the full time whistle to signal the end of the second Victory Cup competition. As the crowd went wild the Russia were proclaimed worthy winners.
BARLA Great Britain Lions 1. Carl Rudd (Wath Brow Hornets) 2. Craig Calvert (Wath Brow hornets), 3. Gavin Corfield (Wigan St Judes), 4. Paul Toole (Blackbrook) 5. Chris Lee (West Hull) 6. John McMullen (Wigan St Judes) 7. Danny Kilshaw (Leigh East) 8. Paul Davidson (Wath Brow Hornets) 9. Darren Mitchell (Thatto Heath Crusaders) 10. Mark Deans (Wath Brow Hornets) 11. Lee Wingfield (Leigh East) 12. Dave Patterson (Leigh Miners Rangers) 13. Tommy Goulden (Leigh Miners Rangers) 14. Carl Hughes (Stanley Rangers) 15. Scott Teare (Wath Brow Hornets) 16. Terry Lynn (West Hull) 17. Dave Goddard (The Army)
Scorers T: Lee (7)
Russia 1. Oleg Sokolov 2. Vladimir Trofimov 3. Sergey Dorynine 4. Oleg Toukov 21. Nikolay Zagoskin 6. Igor Gavrilin 7. Danila Mishukov 8. Alexander Lysenkov 9. Roman Outchinnikov 10. Aider Akhmetshin 11. Eugeny Boujoukov 12. Kiril Koulemine 13. Alexander Chikunov 20. Rafael Yakubov 22. Vladimir Ortchinnikov 16. Yan Gvozder 17. Vitaly Katerinchuk
Scorers T: Dobrynine (16), Gavrilin (30), Outchinnikov (52), Trofimov (58), Koulemine (67) G: Toukov (3)
BARLA 9 - Russia 5
Man Of The Match: Gavrilin (Russia)
Referee: Albert France (France)