The head coach of the Russian national Rugby team, Welshman Lyn Jones, in an interview with RIA Novosti correspondent Elena Dyachkova, shared his opinion about the cancellation of Saturday’s European championship match with the Georgian team due to the spread of coronavirus, the reasons for failures in the European championship games, and also spoke about how to make the bears stronger.
– In your career, have you ever come to a match, but the game did not take place in the end?
“It happens a lot, actually. In my home country of Wales, you sometimes drive an hour to a game and it ends up being cancelled because the pitch is too wet. But now the players of the Russian national team are in a much more difficult situation. We had to travel a long way, several flights, to get to Tbilisi, and here we are. But it is difficult not only for the players, but also for the judges. The match with Georgia was to be judged by the French. The coronavirus has spread quite strongly in France, probably more than in Georgia and Russia. People’s health and safety are now in the first place.
– Do you think that postponing the match was the right decision?
– Of course, this is the right decision. Health is at the forefront. Many people now do not perceive coronavirus as a serious threat. If you behave like this, you can be a danger to everyone around you. We can lose a lot of lives, especially the elderly, and this is very sad.
– Were you ready to play against the Georgian national team?
– Yeah. The players were very excited ahead of this match. Our team is always waiting for games against the Georgian national team. Of course, we know that Russia has never beaten the Georgians in recent years. I think we should try to break this sad tradition. We need to think about this seriously. But to implement this idea, we need a plan. Because we can’t always do the same thing and expect to beat Georgia. She has advanced in comparison with them. All the best Georgian players play for strong clubs in France. We need to sit down and understand what the plan should be for Russia to beat Georgia, because nothing is changing yet. And if you don’t change, the results will also remain the same.
– Do you already have an idea about this plan or is it just an idea?
“I am only one part of this plan. I think in 2019, when the entire Russian Rugby nation rallied for the World Cup plan in Japan, we could compete with the best teams in the world. This is what we need to focus on now – to work together as one nation to make a step forward, to reduce the gap with the same Georgia. Look, Russia and Romania are in a down turn, while Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands and everyone in Europe is looking to the future. We need to understand that we need to move forward, we need to develop.
– “What’s next?” We still do not know what will happen in the summer because of the coronavirus, whether the test matches will be held in July.
“It’s hard to say. I think we can safely hold training camps in Russia, where it is safe, and if there are any problems due to the coronavirus, they are small. We have a chance to continue training, because one of the important results of this season’s European championship is that our team has become younger. We are considering many young players because we have to think about the future. It will be sad if we do not have the opportunity to hold matches, because they are the essence of sport, but there is a lot of work. I think we will hold the next training camp in June.