Currenlty travelling with the Russian Bears for the Summer Internationals, Melbourne Rebels Adam Byrnes caught up with his teammate Misha Babaev to talk about all things rugby.
Name: Misha Babaev
Nickname: Babay (because of his name)
Club Team: VVA Podmoskovje – Moscow Region
Representative: Russia National team both xv and 7’s
How/Why did you start playing rugby?
When I was 11 years old my friend called me to come down and play. I had no idea what rugby was, I had never heard of it, I thought he was talking about American Football. When I went to play I saw many people without padding and helmets and I ask my friend, why are all these people without helmets and pads? He said this is rugby man, not American football. From there I really enjoyed the sport and I am still playing.
Who has been the greatest influence on your career?
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Being injured in the game before the RWC and carrying the injury through the RWC. I did however get to play in the last 2 games of the RWC.
What is your favourite stadium to play in?
The Georgian stadium. Because when we play there, not only is the stadium packed there are thousands of people outside as well. All supporting Georgia. It is a hostile crowd against us but I love it.
Did you enjoy last year’s Rugby World Cup?
Yes. Because it was amazing. There are so many people watching you, supporting you. This is something that no one in Russia has done before. We were the 1st Russian team ever in the RWC.
What do you think of Russia’s future on the world rugby stage?
I think that we need development like the Georgian Union. The Russian National Championship must be the foundation and improved. More players need to play abroad as well.
Where would you like to see rugby in Russia in 10 years?
I want to see Rugby played in schools like it is in other countries across the World. It needs to be developed at a grassroots level.
What advice would you give to kids who dream of playing rugby for Russia?
Young children must have a dream. To play at a high level everywhere. If you play for a club they must dream of being the best player for that club. If they play for the National team they must dream of being the best player for the National team. If they go abroad and play for a foreign club, they must make an impression, they are Russian, they must know that they are representing Russia at all times.