Gloucester have announced the signing of Russian Test tighthead Kirill Gotovtsev for the 2021/22 season just days after Gallagher Premiership rivals London Irish completed the signing of Vladimir Podrezov, another Test level-playing No3, on a short-term deal until the end of this season. 

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Gotovtsev will arrive at Kingsholm from Russian club Krasny Yar Krasnoyarsk, bringing international experience with him to Gloucester after representing his country at the 2019 World Cup in Japan and again in the recent Rugby Europe Championship.

Before taking up rugby, the 33-year-old was a talented freestyle wrestler, winning a bronze medal at the 2010 Russian championships. He is said to weigh 119kgs.

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Gloucester chief operating officer Alex Brown is looking forward to seeing the Russian settle into Premiership life. “Kirill has been a consistent performer for Russia over the last few years.

“He is an extremely powerful scrummager and dominant ball carrier and he will add to our resources in the front row. We are really excited to see Karill next season and we are confident that he will be a great fit at Kingsholm.”

The new Premiership signing comes a week after London Irish announced that they had picked up Podrezov, Gotovtsev’s rival for the No3 Russia jersey, from VVA-Podmoskovye. He had been training with the London club in recent weeks before agreeing on a short-term contract taking him through until the current campaign.

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Capped 34 times by his country, the 27-year-old was also part of the Russian squad that competed in the 2019 World Cup. “I’m really happy to be here,” said Podrezov, who tips the scales at 121kgs. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me and one I’m really looking forward to. Everyone at the club has been really welcoming to me and I’m excited about helping the team out between now and the end of the season.”

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