Adam Byrnes is a professional Australian rugby union player for the Melbourne Rebels. Adam’s plays as a lock or second row forward on the rugby field. He was selected to represent the Russian Bears in the 2011 Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand.
Adam has played rugby for Irish rugby team, Leinster and made his Super Rugby debut in 2009 with the Queensland Reds. In 2010, Adam signed on to play for the Rebels for their inaugural 2011 season.
Although Adam was born in Sydney, he was able to be selected for the Russian squad because of his mother’s Russian heritage. Adam spoke Russian fluently as a child, and was baptised Russian Orthodox.
Russia has never played in a Rugby World Cup before, and Adam found out about the opportunity from reading a magazine, “I was reading a rugby magazine at the beginning of the year and it mentioned that Russia had made its first ever World Cup and that they were looking for players who had parents or grandparents that had left the Soviet Union – which included me” Adam told the Rebels Media Unit.
Adam had to contact his future coaches and register as an international player, and make sure he was able to be released from the Rebels to play for the Bears. Regarding his international player registration, Adam is now classed as a ‘foreign’ Super Rugby player. Which means Adam is the first Russian to play Super Rugby, something he is very excited about.
Adam says playing in a Rugby World Cup for the Russian Bears is a great achievement for him and his family, as it was his mother who passed on Russian traditions and native language to Adam.
Adam told the Herald Sun that despite the Bears having little to no fiancial incentive, it’s his love of playing rugby that motivates him. “The experience of playing in the World Cup and representing a country half your family is from — I am sold on that.”
Russia is in Pool C in the Rugby World Cup which includes Australia, Italy, Ireland and USA.
Adam started on the bench for the Bears against USA and was part of the starting 15 for the Italy match, “my goal of playing at the highest level and on the biggest stage has been achieved” Adam wrote on his blog.
I wish Adam all the best and hope he gets to play against fellow Melbourne Rebels and Wallaby, Nick Phipps, when Russia take on Australia in Nelson on October 1st.You can follow Adam on Twitter and read his Rugby World Cup Russian Rebelution blog on the Melbourne Rebels website.