Rugby

Johnny Sexton Captains Ireland As Schmidt Makes 11 Changes For Russia

Johnny Sexton Captains Ireland As Schmidt Makes 11 Changes For Russia

There's be more focus than expected on Ireland's performance against Russia this Thursday morning after the shock defeat to Japan on Saturday. The minnows of the group were always going to face a less than first choice Ireland team for this game, but following the debacle in Shizuoka, it might be that there are more places to play for on Thursday than we would have expected.

Johnny Sexton returns to the team after being rested/not risked on Saturday. He captains Ireland for the first time.

Peter O'Mahony remains in the pack for his third start in a row at the World Cup, interesting picked at openside flanker. The rest of the pack is completely changed, with an all-Munster front five picked, while O'Mahony is joined in the backrow by Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy, who start at number 8 fresh off the plane after replacing the injured Jack Conan.

The Irish backline is very strong outside of Sexton. Garry Ringrose is the other player to start all three games, while Bundee Aki comes back into the team after his HIA against Scotland. Keith Earls and Rob Kearney get another game under their belt, while Andrew Conway returns after his impressive display in the first game.

James Ryan, Conor Murray, Cian Healy, Josh Van der Flier and Jacob Stockdale have all been given the week off, which means some interesting choices on the bench. Joey Carbery will cover scrum half, with both him and Jack Carty selected. Andrew Porter will also provide cover for loosehead prop with Tadhg Furlong joining him on the bench.

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Ireland Team to play Russia: 

15. Rob Kearney

14. Andrew Conway

13. Garry Ringrose

12. Bundee Aki

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11. Keith Earls

10. Johnny Sexton

9. Luke McGrath

1.Dave Kilcoyne

2. Niall Scannell

3. John Ryan

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4. Tadhg Beirne

5. Jean Kleyn

6. Rhys Ruddock

7. Peter O'Mahony

8. Jordi Murphy

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Replacements: 

16. Sean Cronin

17. Andrew Porter

18. Tadhg Furlong

19. Iain Henderson

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20. CJ Stander

21. Joey Carbery

22. Jack Carty

23. Jordan Larmour

 

This Ireland team will play Russia at 11.15 Irish time on Thursday morning.

 

SEE ALSO: Best's Revealing Referee Conversation And Ireland's Fatal Failing In Japanese Fiasco

 

Michael McCarthy

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