The biggest news out of Joe Schmidt’s selection today was the news that Leinster’s Johnny Sexton returns to the squad as captain for the crucial Pool A encounter.
Head coach Joe Schmidt makes 11 changes for Thursday’s clash in Kobe following Japan defeat.
#RWC2019 @JohnnySexton will be the 106th player to captain Ireland when he leads the team against Russia on Thursday. Congratulations Johnny.#TeamOfUs #ShoulderToShoulder #IREvRUS pic.twitter.com/en890QmEkz
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) October 1, 2019
Sexton missed Ireland’s shock defeat in Shizuoka defeat due to the thigh bang he had sustained in the 27-3 bonus-point opening win over Scotland.
Schmidt has made 11 changes from the Japan defeat to take on Russia in Kobe, to account for the five-day turnaround. The fact that Sexton is playing in a pool game against Russia shows just how little room for error Ireland have.