France launches title defence with heroes of 2015 – Giant Muserskiy returns to the Russian team

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 19, 2016 – With the FIVB Volleyball World League Group 1 teams now unveiled, work now begins on building towards the premier annual men’s volleyball event.

Defending champions France have kept faith with the heroes of their 2015 campaign. Led by last year’s MVP Earvin Nagpeth, 2015 Best Setter and captain Benjamin Toniutti and the high-scoring Antonin Rouzier, 13 players were also part of last year’s squad that defeated Serbia 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-23) in the final. 

 

Of the 2015 winners, only Yoann Jaumel is missing from coach Laurent Tillie’s squad. France put together a sensational winning run last year and, after winning Group 2, also went on to claim overall victory in the tournament for the first time ever before following up with triumph at the European Championships. 

“Right now we are focused on qualifying for the Olympics, but the FIVB World League will be a very important part of this season,” says Tillie.

The 21-man squad for this year’s tournament also features legendary libero Hubert Henno, who turns 40 this year. 

However, he is by no means the oldest player among the 12 teams in Group 1. 

Sergey Tetyukhin, who is 41 this year, will take a central role for Olympic champions Russia as captain. “He is the only player guaranteed a place in the team,” coach Vladimir Alekno revealed.

Alekno’s squad features two notable comebacks. Firstly, 2.18-metre giant Dmitriy Muserskiy returns following his surprise absence at the European Olympic Qualification Tournament in January – Russia still won the tournament and secured their ticket to Rio without him. Taras Khtey is also a shock inclusion in the squad of 21. He captained the Russian team to Olympic gold at London 2012, but a spat of injuries has prevented him from appearing for the …

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