Krasny Yar captain Vasily Artemyev says he is looking forward to leading his team’s charge in the European Rugby Challenge Cup next season.
Artemyev’s men will join fellow Russian side Enisei-STM in the competition for the first time next season.
The two sides battled it out last Saturday in the European Rugby Continental Shield final in Edinburgh with Enisei – more experienced in Europe after two attempts in the Challenge Cup – coming out on top.
Artemyev said: “We lost the game, but to have two Russian teams in next season’s Challenge Cup is huge.
“You can see the level of Russian rugby is improving year on year and our two clubs are a reflection of that.
“We are getting to the same level of Enisei slowly, even though the result did not go our way today.
“The competition in our squad means we will only improve from this. Everybody is working very hard in training and if you are not doing that then you will not get in our team. That will benefit us in the long run.”
Artemyev is used to playing a high standard of rugby having played for European Cup winners Northampton Saints between 2011 and 2013.
The back scored 33 points in 45 games for the Saints, including a hat-trick of tries against Saracens on his club debut in the LV Cup.
But the experienced Russian admitted his Krasny Yar outfit made too many mistakes against Enisei in their 36-8 defeat last Saturday.
He said: “The biggest problem for us was that we did not keep hold of the ball. We did not do ourselves any favours and we could not stay in the game as a result.
“We made too many unforced errors and gave the ball back to Enisei who benefited. We made it too comfortable for them.
“I think our lack of European experience counted against us. They have played in this competition before and I think that showed, but I’m still proud of the level of performance we showed.”