Rugby World Cup: Rory Best starts again but Jack Carty replaces Johnny Sexton as Ireland make four changes for Japan clash
Jack Carty will fill in for Johnny Sexton when Ireland take on Japan in Shizuoka on Saturday (8.15am UK time), although captain Rory Best will go again just six days after playing the full 80 minutes against Scotland.
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Sexton took a bang to a quad in that game, subsequently handing kicking duties over to Conor Murray, and didn’t train fully on Tuesday with the squad on a down day yesterday.
Carty has started just once before for Ireland, the warm-up with Wales in Cardiff last month, with the remainder of the Connacht man’s eight caps all coming from the bench, but he is preferred to Joey Carbery in the 10 jersey for the meeting with the hosts.
He is one of four changes to the starting side that opened Ireland’s World Cup on Sunday, with Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Chris Farrell all also coming in.
Jack Conan had been due to deputise for Peter O'Mahony, who passed HIA, but picked up a foot injury in training on Thursday morning, leaving the back row unchanged.
Farrell impressed from the bench in that game after coming on in the first-half while Kearney and Earls sat it out due to minor knocks.
Their returns mean Jacob Stockdale is the only member of what was an impressive back-three unit to retain his place, although with the side’s next game to take place just four days later, more rotation will be expected for the challenge of Russia in Kobe.
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Best and Iain Henderson are again in the run-on line-up, 37-year-old Best evidently feeling no ill effects from his wire-to-wire shift in Yokohama and Henderson picking up his 50th cap.
Japan also named their side this morning and although attack coach Tony Brown said yesterday that star winger Kenki Fukuoka was nearing a return, it was not in time for the weekend.
There are four changes as captain Michael Leitch drops to the bench, along with Asaeli Ai Valu, Lomano Lava Lemeki and Wimpie van der Walt
The World Cup's oldest player Luke Thompson is promoted to the starting line-up along with Jiwon Koo, Amanaki Lelei Mafi and Ryohei Yamanaka.
Both sides go into the game having won their opening matches, with a win for Joe Schmidt’s side all but guaranteeing a place in the quarter-finals.
Japan have long stated ambitions to make the last eight too and know that to do so they will have to beat either Ireland or Scotland.
Ireland team to face Japan
R Kearney, K Earls, G Ringrose, C Farrell, J Stockdale; J Carty, C Murray; C Healy, R Best (C), T Furlong; I Henderson, J Ryan; J O'Mahony, J van der Flier, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Cronin, Kilcoyne, irne, Ruddock, McGrath, Carbery, Larmour
Japan team to face Ireland
R Yamanaka, K Matsushima, T Lafaele, R Nakamura, W Tupou; Y Tamura, Y Nagare; K Inagaki, S Jorie, J Koo, L Thompson, J Moore, K Himeno, P Labaschagne, A Lelei Mafi
Replacements: A Sakate, I Nakajima, A Al Valu, W van der Walt, M Leitch, F Tanaka, R Matsuda, L Lava Lemeki
Belfast Telegraph Digital