The Belgian Barbarians will be looking for their second win of 2017 on Saturday, October 21 as they play host to the Russian national team at the International School of Brussels.
This is the second game of the year for the Belgian Barbarians and the eighth game in four years since Lee Rosky took over as head coach.
Team Russia last took the field in 2016 when they lost in the IFAF Europe qualifying tournament to both Great Britain (30-13) and Holland (17-6). Russia had previously defeated Norway 20-0 to advance to the qualifying tournament.
The Barbarians have been one of the busiest national teams in Europe since Rosky took over in 2014, playing between two and four games a year. Earlier this year, Belgium edged Spain 18-16 and last year they beat both Spain and Hungary. In 2015, they played four games including a tough loss to Holland in a European qualifier in front of almost 5,000 roaring Dutch fans.
“We have maintained the same core of coaches over the past four years including our defensive coordinator, Jean Marc Bottin and offensive coordinator, Pauwel Depreitere. And then there is myself and Christophe Olenaed.”
The Barbarians enter the game with perhaps their strongest team.
“We are happy with the team that we have put together. We have a core of players that have been with us for a long time. A few have been with us from the start. The timing of this game allows us to have a couple of players back from playing abroad in Germany, Holland and Finland. We are looking for big games from Nick Vanhee, Jerome Bottin and Godichal Hadrien on defense while Tomasz Firszt, Arkadi Meerschout, Ruben De Ruyter and Mike Schoonheyt should be taking the lead on offense.”
Belgian quarterback Tomasz Firszt has been the starter for the past four years and with receiver Ruben De Ruyter back in the lineup after spending last season in Finland with the Hämeenlinna Huskies and the season before playing in Sweden for the Carlstad Crusaders, the passing game can be potent.
Russian national team head coach Dmitry Maximov and his staff have brought a 46 man roster to Brussels and one third of the teams is made up of Russian champions, the Moscow Patriots, including quarterback Igor Chernolutsky who was a key in the Patriots victory over the St. Petersburg Griffins.
This is the first time these two teams have ever met.
The game will be live on Facebook. Team Russia @Belgian Barbarians Sat. Oct. 21 3p CEST (9a EDT)