Kirill Gotovtsev is one of Gloucester Rugby’s latest recruits. The Russian international prop has had an action-packed sporting career to date and has now settled in at Kingsholm. We thought we’d catch up with him to find out a bit more about one of the newest characters in the squad.
Are you enjoying being at Gloucester Rugby?
“I get great pleasure being in this team! I feel great excitement and there is good competition, but this does not prevent us from being a friendly squad. In my opinion, these are the most important factors in a team game.
“Playing in a professional league was my dream and when I was asked to play for Gloucester Rugby, I did not have to think for a long time! My family was ready to give up everything and go and live the dream and have an adventure.”
Tell us a bit more about your sporting past
“When I was 10 years old, I started freestyle wrestling and immediately fell in love with the sport. I found myself doing it for 15 years! It was 15 years of confrontation with myself and with the strongest of rivals. I managed to win several international tournaments and became a prize-winner at the national championship.
“But I couldn't get to the top of this sport. Wrestling gave me the way to life and is the foundation of my personality, both physically and mentally. But I felt an unrealized potential in myself and I made one of the most difficult decisions in my life, I switched to another sport, bobsleigh!
“I spent a year and a half in this sport, it gave me unique knowledge and technique, but the selection for the Olympic Games in Sochi left much to be desired. In February 2014, with all my experience and ambitions, I came to the Krasny Yar Rugby Club which is where I started my rugby journey.”
How did you get into rugby?
“My family didn't even hear about rugby until I started doing it. But now they are my most loyal fans. My father watches all the matches, analyses them by the second and even criticises my unsuccessful actions on the field! I sometimes attended matches in my city, I didn't know the rules, but I liked this tough game.”
What was it like to represent your country at the 2019 Rugby World Cup?
“It is a great honour to play at the World Cup, I was lucky to take part in this unforgettable event. Sometimes I remember how I didn't want to go home, but to continue playing in front of full stands!”
How have you found the weather? Those first few weeks of preseason were weird with the heat followed by the rain!
“In the first week of training, I was surprised by the heat above 30 degrees, I left all my caps in Russia! It was real hell on the field, after another hard training session I could hardly get home, I was close to heat stroke!
“My family have now come up with a rule - not to leave the house without a raincoat! I have never lived in such a climate, I don't know how I can withstand this rainy weather!"
Have you travelled over with your family?
“We came with the whole family. Me, my wife and children, a boy and a girl. We are renting a house in a very quiet area of Gloucester; it is very beautiful and we have wonderful neighbours. We like to be friends with our neighbours, in Krasnoyarsk we would go to visit our neighbours, drink tea and even celebrate holidays together.
“We will send the children to school. They need to adapt, learn the language and absorb the culture of England. My son will go to play rugby. Life in England is very different from Russia, every day we learn new details, meanings and traditions. Everything is different here, from separate taps in the sink, to products in the store, we are learning to lead a new life.
"Rent a house, buy furniture, get a bank account, connect electricity and gas, all this is a real puzzle and we could not cope without the help of kind people. Things are not finished yet, so we have adventures every day."