Rugby | Murphy and Sexton to start as Ireland make 11 changes for Russia clash

Jordi Murphy will start for Ireland against Russia, days after being called up to the squad as a replacement for Jack Conan.

Murphy comes straight into the starting 15, with Joe Schmidt making 11 changes to the team which lost to Japan.

Rob Kearney, Garry Ringrose, Keith Earls and Peter O’Mahony are the only survivors from the shock defeat to the host nation on Saturday.

Ringrose and O’Mahony are the only two players in the squad to have been named to start in all three Pool A matches thus far.

Johnny Sexton returns to the starting lineup, and will captain Ireland in a Rugby World Cup for the first time in the absence of Rory Best.

Sexton will be partnered by Luke McGrath, with Conor Murray being given a rest by Schmidt.

“It’s a massive honour to captain Ireland,” Sexton said, in quotes reported by RTÉ Sport.

“It’s something I’ve thought about as a kid. I am 100 percent [fit].

“I’ve made a lot of decisions around trying to get there someday. I’m incredibly proud.”

Jean Kleyn partners Tadhg Beirne in the second row, and Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, and John Ryan have all been handed starts for Ireland’s third game of the tournament.

Bundee Aki, Andrew Conway and Rhys Ruddock have also been included.

The Pool A encounter has come too soon for Robbie Henshaw, who is nearing a return to action, while Chris Farrell misses out due to concussion.

Joey Carbery is on the bench once again.

Russia head coach Mark McDermott has also rung the changes, making nine alterations to the team which lost to Samoa last time out.

The game will take place in Kobe on Thursday morning.

Ireland: Rob Kearney, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Keith Earls, Johnny Sexton (capt), Luke McGrath; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn Tadhg Beirne, Rhys Ruddock, Peter O’Mahony, Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, CJ Stander, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Jordan Larmour.