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Jordi Murphy to start for Ireland alongside captain Johnny Sexton as team to face Russia announced at Rugby World Cup

Jordi Murphy
Jordi Murphy
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Jordi Murphy will slot straight into the Ireland team when they look to bounce back from defeat to Japan against Russia on Thursday (11.15am UK-time), joining Johnny Sexton, who captains the side for the first time.

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The Ulster back-row forward arrived into Tokyo on Sunday, staying in the Japanese capital that night before joining up with his team-mates in Kobe yesterday.

And after training for a first time since touching down this morning, the 28-year-old will be named to start at number 8 in a side that features 11 changes.

An openside by trade, his two previous starts for Ireland have come at the base of the scrum and he'll be joined in the back-row by Rhys Ruddock and Peter O'Mahony the latter being the only holdover in the pack that started last time out.

Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Tadhg Beirne and Jean Kleyn will all come in.

Sexton, who becomes the 106th player to captain Ireland, is back having missed out against Japan, starting at ten with Leinster colleague Luke McGrath his scrum-half.

Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Garry Ringrose all go again, with Bundee Aki and Andrew Conway also coming into the side.

Murphy was only called into the squad over the weekend to replace the injured Jack Conan but will have long since passed through the mandatory 48-hour stand-down period between landing at the World Cup and being able to take part in his first game come Thursday.

He had been due to be taking off for South Africa with Ulster today but was pulled from provincial action last weekend once the severity of Conan's foot problem became clear.

Ireland's only full training of the week took place overnight, a session at the training ground of Dan Carter's Kobelco Steelers, although the All Blacks legend was absent, not spending the off-season with his Japanese club.

Ireland team to face Russia

R Kearney, A Conway, G Ringrose, B Aki, K Earls, J Sexton (cap), L McGrath, D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan, T Beirne, J Kleyn, R Ruddock, P O'Mahony, J Murphy.

REPLACEMENTS: S Cronin, A Porter, T Furlong, I Henderson, CJ Stander, J Carbery, J Carty, J Larmour

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