Thursday 3 October, Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe, 11.15am (Irish time)


Live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now App from 10.30am


Live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 with Michael Corcoran. 


Live coverage on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 10.30am.


Breezy in the evening; mostly cloudy and humid with showers.


We didn't think we'd have to ponder 'permutations' after the Scotland game but, as a former Taoiseach was wont to say, 'we are where we are'. 

In truth, there aren't too many permutations to ponder. If Ireland get two bonus point wins against Russia and Samoa, they will progress to the quarter-finals at least - and in top spot should Japan lose to Scotland. 

Even only the one winning bonus point from the two upcoming games will surely be enough as Scotland will do well to take five points off Japan. 

People are understandably wary about predicting anything too breezily in the wake of the Japan shock but we are assured on all sides that Russia barely count as a speed bump and Ireland should fill their boots in this one. 

The rankings - if you're inclined to set much store by them - have Russia marked down as the third worst team in the competition ahead of only Canada and Namibia. 

Farrell sees inspiration in past World Cups

The heady talk in the wake of the Scotland game reads all wrong this week.

For many, the Japan result confirmed that, in spite of recent Grand Slams and victories over New Zealand, we are witnessing an Irish Rugby World Cup much like any other - except worse perhaps. 

Building an argument that Ireland will get past the quarter-final stage has been rather difficult since Saturday. 

Defence coach Andy Farrell sought to restore faith, citing as inspiration other teams who've experienced pool setbacks. 

South Africa, of course, who lost to Japan in the pool stages in 2015 - prompting their coach Heineke Meyer to deliver a public apology - before lumbering back towards the semi-finals where they gave New Zealand a decent rattle. 

France lost to Tonga in the pool stages in 2011. But they came alive to beat England in the quarter-finals, eked past Wales in the semis and then might have beaten a nervy New Zealand in the final, but for a hometown referee. 

And then there's a team Farrell played on himself, the England squad of '07 who were embarrassed by South Africa in the pool stages. 

"If you look at the last two World Cups, South Africa losing to Japan, then going on to lose the semi-final 20-18.

"Then in 2011 France seemed to be in disarray throughout that competition and there's a debate on whether they should have won the final or not.

"And even in 2007 I was part of the England squad that had a thrashing off South Africa. There was a bit of turmoil in that camp but then, managed to get to the final, and there was some debate about a try that was disallowed.

"So you can use these things to your advantage. They are not ideal, but if you use them to your advantage then you can grow."

Change aplenty and Russia's Irish connection

Ireland's team contains 11 changes from Saturday, the most high profile being Johnny Sexton's return and his installation as captain, surprisingly for the first time. (He spoke of his pride at captaining Ireland on Tuesday). 

Keith Earls and Rob Kearney stay in place and somewhat more surprisingly, Peter O'Mahony and Garry Ringrose are retained and will be the only two players to have started three games by tomorrow. 

Russia's captain Vasily Artemyev

Otherwise, it's all change. We've an entire Munster front five, Jordi Murphy is thrown straight into the back row having only landed in Japan on Sunday.

Bundee Aki is back having been ruled out on the weekend but Robbie Henshaw is not being chanced yet.  

For Russia, the main man and their most experienced player is Vasily Artemyev, with his curious hybrid accent of Russian and South Dublin. 

Born in Moscow, Artemyev got much of his schooling in Ireland, attending Blackrock College, winning both Junior Cup and Senior Cup medals in the process and representing Ireland at several underage grades. 

"The sense of humour of the Irish is very similar to the Russian sense of humour actually. Russians are thought to be humourless but it's a misconception," he said this week.

You can read Micil Glennon's article on Artemyev here


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.

Russia: Vasily Artemyev (capt), German Davydov, Igor Galinovskiy, Kirill Golosnitskiy, Denis Simplikevich, Ramil Gaisin, Dmitry Perov; Andrei Polivalov, Evgeny Matveev, Kirill Gotovtsev, Andrey Garbuzov, Bogdan Fedotko, Anton Sychev, Tagir Gadzhiev.

Replacements: Stanislav Selskii, Valery Morozov, Vladimir Podrezov, Andrey Ostrikov, Evgeny Elgin, Sergey Ianiushkin, Roman Khodin, Vladimir Ostroushko.

World Cup history

We have minimal history with the Russians but did meet them in the 2011 World Cup. It was the third pool game that autumn and Declan Kidney's men were on a relative high, having just upset the typically cocky Australians 15-6 in Eden Park. 

The game is best remembered by the internet for Isaac Boss glancing at Ronan O'Gara when Johnny Sexton missed a handy kick. 

This was the height of their Ward-Campbell style rivalry. 

The match itself was a routine affair, the bonus point having been secured by half-time. Russia's try, by the way, was scored by the aforementioned half-Irishman Artemyev. 

We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Follow Ireland v Russia on Thursday (kick-off 11.15am) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News  Now App, watch live on RTÉ2 from 10.30am or listen to live match commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 from 11am.