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Artemyev: Bears can build on Nations Cup campaign towards Rugby World Cup

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Artemyev played in all five of Russia's Nations Cup (ENC) matches, which included wins over Belgium (43-32), Portugal (31-23) and Spain (13-9). But losses to Romania (14-29) and Georgia (9-23) saw the Bears finish third in the table, five points behind Romania and Georgia, who were only split on points difference.

However the Rugby World Cup (RWC) qualification process is only at its mid-point, and the qualifiers for England 2015 will not be decided until the end of the 2014 ENC, at which point each team will have played each other home and away.

The top two ranked teams will automatically qualify for the World Cup with the third-placed team entering the repechage process.

"Overall it was a good run for us," Artemyev commented. "We won three out of our five matches but lost to Georgia and Romania, the two other big teams in the competition. But two of our wins came with a bonus point so we're sitting third in the group just now.

"We've got Romania at home next year, which will make a big difference, and our aim is to get into the top two teams at the end of the 2013 tournament to get the automatic qualification for the World Cup.

"For a lot of the guys the game against Romania was only their second rugby game in three or four months. We started well and were leading with 25 minutes to go and just got tired, they put everything through their big forwards and mauled whatever they could."

Global qualification for RWC 2015 is well underway. Inevitably there is some disparity between regions - in contrast to the two-year European qualification process the USA and Canada will battle it out over two matches this August to decide who becomes Americas 1 - but Artemyev believes that the challenges in front of the European teams stands them in better stead for the main event itself.

"It's harder for us than for some other teams," Artemyev said. "America and Canada have it bit easier to qualify, for example, but it's those challenging games that the team needs to progress. It's an interesting competition to play in, that's for sure."

To find out more about the qualification process for England 2015 visit www.rugbyworldcup.com