Born: July 29, 1981
Club: Melbourne Rebels (Australia)
Adam may have been born in Australia, but the uncompromising Melbourne Rebels lock forward is half Russian.
Byrnes qualifies for Russia through ancestry on his mother's side – both his maternal grandparents were born in the USSR and his mother spoke Russian to Byrnes when he was a child.
Byrnes is also baptised Russian Orthodox and has kept in touch with his Russian roots – the Byrnes family still also celebrate Christmas on January 7, and Adam still counts borscht, blini, pelmeni and pirozhky among his favourite foods.
It has been a huge year for Byrnes – he attended the Royal Wedding in Monaco with partner Sophie Edington, before again flying halfway around the world to link up with the Bears on their UK tour.
He calls the chance to represent Russia "a fairytale come true". As he says, "Rugby is my life, Russia is my heritage."
- The Marlborough Express