After weeks of rumour and speculation, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have finally confirmed the sign...
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Four tries from Moscow Dynamos centre Denis Korolev helped Russia ease to a 40-14 victory in The Hague, as the first steps were taken on the road to the 2008 World Cup in Australia.
A big, athletic Russian outfit had too much power for the gallant Dutch, who had the honour of scoring the competition's first try through Coventry Bears second rower James Howitt in the sixth minute of an entertaining clash.
Korolev claimed his first touchdown soon after and the Russians swept into a lead they were not to relinquish on the next set when fellow centre Sergey Dobrynin broke the cover, Artem Grigoryan adding the first of his four conversions.
The other two nations in the European qualifying group, Serbia and Georgia, meet in the next match in Belgrade on May 13.
HOLLAND - Tries: Howitt (6, 38), de Jager (79); Goal: de Jager
RUSSIA - Tries: Korolev (10, 22, 30, 50), Dobrynin (12), Bychkov (25), Koltykhov (43, 61); Goals: Grigoryan 4
Half time: 10-26