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Johnny Sexton returns as Ireland rugby team is named to play Russia

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named his starting 15 to face Russia in Pool A of the Rugby World C...

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named his starting 15 to face Russia in Pool A of the Rugby World Cup in Kobe on Thursday and it includes Johnny Sexton, who captains the side.

The influential Leinster out-half missed the defeat to Japan with a quad muscle injury. His return is pivotal as Ireland chase an essential bonus point that will put them back on track to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.

In all, Schmidt has made 11 changes from the side which suffered that shock 19-12 defeat to Japan.

Number eight Jordi Murphy has been drafted straight into the side having been flown out to Japan to replace the injured Jack Conan.

Schmidt has picked a tight-five that is made up entirely of Munster players, with Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan forming the front row. Jean Kleyn will make his World Cup debut in the second row alongside Tadhg Beirne.

Chris Farrell wasn't considered due to concussion, while Robbie Henshaw's target will be the Samoa match as he recovers from a hamstring problem.

Thursday's game begins at 11.15 am Irish time.

Ireland 15 v Russia:

15. Rob Kearney

14. Andrew Conway

13. Garry Ringrose

12. Bundee Aki

11. Keith Earls

10. Johnny Sexton

9. Luke McGrath

1. Dave Kilcoyne

2. Niall Scannell

3. John Ryan

4. Tadhg Beirne

5. Jean Kleyn

6. Rhys Ruddock

7. Peter O'Mahony

8. Jordi Murphy

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