Russia previously played as the Soviet Union, and in the early 1990s, as a combined CIS team. Since 1992 however, they have been playing as Russia. The team has yet to qualify for a Rugby World Cup. They were even expelled from qualifying in 2003 due to issues with their player eligibility.
Russia competes regularly in the European Nations Cup, and more recently, in the Nations Cup. They have failed to qualify for the 2007 Rugby World Cup which took place in France, losing both games in the qualifying round to Italy and Portugal.
The first Russian national team took the field on 6 June 1992, beating the Barbarians 27-23. Russian then went on somewhat of a winning streak after their first game, defeating Belgium, Germany, Georgia and Poland in succession. However their meeting with Italy in November 1993 ended the run of wins, as Italy won 30 to 19. The 5 game winning streak in the early 1990s remains Russia longest run of wins to this day.
Russia finished third in 2001 and 2001-2002 European Nations Cup. Russia played Ireland in 2002, losing 35-3. Russia played Japan in 2002, but lost 59 to 19, which was the largest number of points ever scored against them at the time.
They have yet to qualify for the Rugby World Cup. They were expelled from qualifying for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, because they had three South African players who were not qualified to play for Russia. The Nations Cup was introduced by the IRB in 2006, in which Russia, Portugal along with Argentina A and Italy A competed in Portugal. Russia finished third.
In 2007 Rugby World Cup qualifying, Russia finished outside the top three teams during the 2004/05 European Nations tournament, and thus went into round four to play Ukraine in a two match series to determine who would go through to round 5. Russia defeated Ukraine in the first match in Ukraine on September 23, 2006. The second match also went to Russia, and Russia moved to the next round, where they were pooled with Italy and Portugal.
The game with Gli Azzurri in Moscow was a rout, Russia sustaining the heaviest defeat to date, 7-67 at the Slava stadium. Two weeks later, a grandstand finish ensued in Lisbon with only a penalty separating Portugal and Russia, the hosts winning 26-23. This ended Russia's campaign in the 2007 World Cup.