World ranking: 20th
Qualification: First in Europe
Best result: Pool stage
TAB odds: $501
Chances: Difficult to think of the planet's biggest country (by area) and one of the most populated as a minnow of world rugby.
Russia qualified from Europe, only after Belgium, Romania and Spain were all disqualified for fielding ineligible players, so any kind of result in perhaps the weakest pool would be a bonus.
The 34-year-old No.10 is Russia’s most decorated player, after picking up silverware with several clubs during his career, including 11 Russian Championships and two European Rugby Continental Shields. His experience will no doubt be invaluable, as the Bears try to navigate a difficult group and improve on their 2011 outing.
Forwards: Azamat Bitiev, Andrey Garbuzov, Kirill Gotovtsev, Victor Gresev, Bogdan Fedotko, Vitaliy Zhivatov, Evgeny Matveev, Andrey Polivalov, Vladimir Podrezov, Evgeny Yelgin, Stanislav Selsky, Nikita Vavilin, Sergey Chernyshev, Tagir Gadzhiev, Roman Khodin, Andrei Ostrikov, Valery Morozov, Anton Sychev.
Backs: Vasily Artemyev (captain), Igor Galinovsky, Kirill Golosnitsky, Vasily Dorofeev, Yuri Kushnarev, German Davydov, Dmitry Perov, Vladislav Sozonov, Dmitry Gerasimov, Ramil Gaysin, Denis Simplikevich, Vladimir Ostroushko, Sergey Yanyushkin.
Pool draw (NZT)
Japan v Russia, Tokyo, 10:45pm
Russia v Samoa, Kumagaya City, 10:15pm
Ireland v Russia, Kobe City, 11:15pm
Scotland v Russia, Shizukoa Prefecture, 8:15pm