As Putin backs Russian bid to host 2027 World Cup, is the ‘sleeping bear’ of rugby ready to awaken?

Many in Russia can't understand

Many in Russia can’t understand why rugby isn’t more popular in the country. Given it’s a physical contact sport requiring high levels of discipline and toughness it seems almost tailor-made for the Russian psyche.

While the game thrives in some clusters – most notably in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk – it isn’t popular nationwide like soccer or ice hockey. Some believe the harsh climate in most of Russia works against the sport – which is popular in countries with more temperate winters, such as France, New Zealand and Britain.

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