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Russian Selection Shows Nine Changes For Ireland Game

Russian Selection Shows Nine Changes For Ireland Game

Russia captain Vasily Artemyev was first in to congratulate try scorer Kirill Golosnitskiy on the opening night of the Rugby World Cup in Tokyo ©INPHO/Craig Mercer

Russia’s Welsh head coach Lyn Jones has made nine personnel changes to the team to face Ireland in Thursday’s Rugby World Cup Pool A match in Kobe (kick-off 7.15pm local time/11.15am Irish time).

The Bears fielded the same team for their opening pool fixtures against Japan and Samoa, suffering back-to-back defeats (30-10 and 34-9). Yury Kushnarev, their most-capped player of all-time and record points scorer, is a notable absentee.

Vasily Artemyev, the former Ireland Under-18 Schools international who played for Blackrock College and UCD, has captained his country on a record 32 occasions. His haul of 29 Test tries are the most by any player in Russian history.

Krasny Yar duo Igor Galinovskiy and Kirill Golosnitskiy pair up together in the centre, with the latter’s wing spot filled by Denis Simplikevich, who made his Russia debut in their 62-12 pool defeat to Ireland at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Half-backs Ramil Gaisin and Dmitry Perov and lock Andrey Garbuzov are promoted from the bench, while VVA Saracens pair Andrei Polivalov and Evgeny Matveev join five-times capped tighthead Kirill Gotovtsev in the front row.

Krasny Yar’s Victor Gresev makes his 99th international appearance at number 8, with the freshened-up back row completed by Anton Sychev and Tagir Gadzhiev, one of the six players who are set to make their third successive start of the tournament.

Speaking ahead of his side’s penultimate match in Japan, Jones said: “We are facing probably the toughest challenge that Russian rugby has ever faced. We take on one of the best teams in the world, Ireland. The challenge is huge but the enthusiasm and confidence in our team is very good.

“The preparation has gone well. The short turnaround for the Samoa game, when energy levels were low at half-time, allowed Samoa back into the game. We feel that if Samoa had been the first game, we would have won. It wasn’t, so our focus now comes on Ireland.

“We’ve made nine changes to ensure that we have fresh energy. Lots of selection is very, very close, no matter what. Ramil (Gaisin) and Anton (Sychev) are coming into the side, exceptionally talented players, they are very confident to add something to our performance.

“The energy of new players will put more pressure on Ireland. We weren’t able to put pressure on Samoa and now it’s important to take time away from Ireland.”

RUSSIA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A, Kobe Misaki Stadium, Thursday, October 3, kick-off 7.15pm local time/11.15am Irish time):

Player/Club/Caps –

15. Vasily Artemyev (Krasny Yar) (capt) 88
14. German Davydov (VVA Saracens) 19
13. Igor Galinovskiy (Krasny Yar) 50
12. Kirill Golosnitskiy (Krasny Yar) 11
11. Denis Simplikevich (Yenisey-STM) 28
10. Ramil Gaisin (Yenisey-STM) 46
9. Dmitry Perov (VVA Saracens) 12
1. Andrei Polivalov (VVA Saracens) 27
2. Evgeny Matveev (VVA Saracens) 60
3. Kirill Gotovtsev (Krasny Yar) 5
4. Andrey Garbuzov (Krasny Yar) 96
5. Bogdan Fedotko (Krasny Yar) 22
6. Anton Sychev (Metallurg) 16
7. Tagir Gadzhiev (RC Kuban) 29
8. Victor Gresev (Krasny Yar) 98


16. Stanislav Selskii (Yenisey-STM) 37
17. Valery Morozov (Sale Sharks) 19
18. Vladimir Podrezov (VVA Saracens) 24
19. Andrey Ostrikov (FC Grenoble) 35
20. Evgeny Elgin (Yenisey-STM) 23
21. Sergey Ianiushkin (Lokomotiv Penza) 15
22. Roman Khodin (RC Kuban) 4
23. Vladimir Ostroushko (RC Kuban) 47