Former Bok coach backs Russia
Cape Town - Former Springbok assistant coach Alan Solomons has tipped Russia to be the best of the smaller nations at the Rugby World Cup.
The Eastern European side will be making their debut at the World Cup this year after qualifying for the tournament by finishing second in the European Nations Cup.
According to the Sky Sports website, Solomons believes the Bears, as Russia are known, will do well despite a serious setback in their preparation.
"I think Russia are coming on nicely. They had a hiccup with Steve Diamond leaving to join Sale. He was doing a great job but you can understand why he opted to leave and return to Sale,” said Solomons.
"Kingsley Jones has come in and is doing well but that hiccup came just ahead of the World Cup so has set them back a wee bit. I think that they can do well, though."
Solomons previously coached Western Province, the Stormers, Ulster, Northampton and the Barbarians. He also held the position of High Performance Consultant with the IRB - which required him to help develop the game amongst emerging nations such as Russia - and is currently the director of rugby at the Eastern Province Kings.
Russia have been hard at work preparing for the tournament and spent three weeks at a resort in the town of Sochi during July.
Solomons added that Russia differed from most other European teams because they had a lighter forward pack and played a more expansive brand of rugby.
Click here to read Alan Solomons' opinion on all of the teams in Pool A, and keep a look out for his up-coming columns on the other teams at the Rugby World Cup.