Russia coach hails 'five star' team despite Ireland loss

Lyn Jones (Getty Images)
Lyn Jones (Getty Images)

Kobe  - Russia's coach was full of praise for his players' performance against Ireland at the Rugby World Cup Thursday, hailing it as a "big day" for Russian rugby despite their 35-0 defeat.

"I'm absolutely delighted. It's a big day for Russian rugby and we came through with five stars," said Lyn Jones after his team held the much-fancied Irish for long periods of their Pool A clash.

Jones said they had adjusted their defensive patterns to counter the Irish attacks, which he felt restricted the scoring of the favourites and forced them into kicking.

"Our players stood up today... and we knocked the Irish boys back," said Jones, a former Welsh international.

Late tries from Andrew Conway and Garry Ringrose put gloss on the scoreline for Ireland, who made more handling errors than their coach Joe Schmidt would have liked, despite collecting the all-important bonus point.

"Unfortunately we didn't score any points... but Russia's players gave everything they had and they were shattered at the end. And that's all you can ask," said Jones.

The coach added his team was "disappointed" to have conceded two yellow cards that left them scrambling at times but said the future was bright for rugby in Russia, who are ranked 20th in the global standings.

Captain Vasily Artemyev, who has delighted the crowds with his enthusiastic post-match interviews in a strong Irish accent, was characteristically ebullient.

"A magnificent die-hard attitude from our boys," said Artemyev, who was educated at Dublin's Blackrock College -- the school attended by Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll.

"We came second best, but we're not broken after this game. Thank you very much for the support. And thank you to the boys for their heroic effort tonight."

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