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Rugby World Cup Preview: Ireland v Russia

Rugby World Cup Preview: Ireland v Russia

Leo Cullen, who will have the honour of captaining Ireland against Russia, said: “After last weekend, with the Australia performance, there’s a real good buzz in the camp. I think for the guys that are playing this week, there’s a massive responsibility to carry on that momentum we have.”

2011 RUGBY WORLD CUP – POOL C: Sunday, September 25

IRELAND (2nd) v RUSSIA (5th), Rotorua International Stadium, 6pm local time/6am Irish time (live RTÉ Two/Setanta Sports Ireland/UTV)

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Team News: The Ireland team and replacements for the Rugby World Cup Pool C match against Russia at Rotorua International Stadium on Sunday has been announced.

There are ten changes, one of which is a positional switch, to the starting line-up from Ireland’s 15-6 win over Australia last weekend.

Fergus McFadden starts on the right wing and is one of four Rugby World Cup debutants in the selected side. Keith Earls moves from the wing to outside centre to partner Paddy Wallace, who will be making his first appearance of the tournament.

Andrew Trimble is named on the left wing, with Ronan O’Gara, who played against Russia back in 2002, and Isaac Boss forming the half-back partnership.

World Cup newcomer Sean Cronin makes the switch with Rory Best from the replacements to start at hooker, while Tony Buckley has his first start of the tournament at tighthead prop.

The back row from the Australian game has been altered as Donnacha Ryan starts at blindside flanker in place of Stephen Ferris.

The final change to the side is the selection of Leo Cullen in the second row. He comes into the team in place of Paul O’Connell and will also captain the team in his first Rugby World Cup match.

Meanwhile, Russia head coach Nikolai Nerush has made nine changes, including one positional switch, to the side which scored three tries against Italy in a 53-17 defeat in Nelson last Tuesday.

Alexander Yanyushkin, the diminutive scrum half who changed the Bears’ game when he came on as a replacement against the Azzurri, regains the number 9 jersey and also replaces the rested Vladislav Korshunov as captain.

He starts with Konstantin Rachkov alongside him at half-back. Among the backs, winger Vladimir Ostroushko, Russia’s most-capped player Andrey Kuzin and former Leinster and Ireland underage player Vasily Artemyev keep their places, although the latter switches to full-back.

The match will have special significance for the 24-year-old, who learnt his rugby at Blackrock College, UCD and as a member of the Leinster Academy.

Artemyev’s move to full-back opens up the right wing berth for exciting debutant Denis Simplikevich. It is a big opportunity for the 20-year-old Siberian, a player who represents the future of Russian rugby.

Another player making his first Rugby World Cup appearance is the experienced Sergey Trishin at inside centre.

Up front Sergey Popov returns to propping duties alongside Valeriy Tsnobiladze and Alexey Khrokin, who wins his 75th cap, a record for a Russian forward.

The second row sees Denis Antonov pack down alongside Adam Byrnes, who played for Leinster for two seasons. He is currently tied to the Melbourne Rebels in his native Australia.

Man-of-the-match against Italy, Victor Gresev, is again named at number 8 and will be joined in the back row by Artem Fatakhov and Andrey Garbuzov.

IRELAND: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster); Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster); Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Tony Buckley (Sale), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster) (capt), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster).

Replacements: Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster), Shane Jennings (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers).

RUSSIA: Vasily Artemyev (Northampton Saints, England); Denis Simplikevich (Enisey-STM, Krasnoyarsk), Andrey Kuzin (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino), Sergey Trishin (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino), Vladimir Ostroushko (Enisey-STM, Krasnoyarsk); Konstantin Rachkov (Stade Phoceen, France), Alexander Yanyushkin (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino) (capt); Sergey Popov (Slava-ShVSM, Moscow), Valery Tsnobiladze (Novokuznetsk, Novokuznetsk), Alexander Khrokin (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino), Denis Antonov (Slava-ShVSM, Moscow), Adam Byrnes (Melbourne Rebels, Australia), Artem Fatakhov (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino), Andrey Garbuzov (Krasniy Yar, Krasnoyarsk), Victor Gresev (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino).

Replacements: Evgeny Matveev (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino), Ivan Prishchepenko (Krasniy Yar, Krasnoyarsk), Alexey Travkin (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino), Alexander Voytov (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino), Andrey Bykanov (Slava-ShVSM, Moscow), Mikhail Sidorov (Slava-ShVSM, Moscow), Mikhail Babaev (VVA-Podmoskovye, Monino).

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Dave Pearson (England), Jérôme Garces (France)
Television Match Official: Giulio De Santis (Italy)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland to win: 1/750; Draw: 80/1; Russia to win: 50/1

Pre-Match Quotes: Declan Kidney (Ireland) – “There was a need to freshen it up because we had a big Test match against Australia last Saturday. The lads coming in will bring freshness and enthusiasm.

“The good thing about touring and tournaments is that the guys in the squad already know the calls. This is the players’ World Cup and they’ll only buy into that if they get a chance to show themselves.

“We know how sharp we’re going to have to be (against Russia). We know we’ve got to be on the money. We need a good performance at the breakdown and for that you need to be sharp.

“These guys have been training really well. It was nip and tuck over who should have played last week and after this it will be a even more difficult job over who plays the following week, I would imagine.”

Konstantin Rachkov (Russia) – “The coaches have decided to rest some players who had played in the previous two games. Some guys are injured, like Yury Kushnarev and Igor Klyuchnikov, so a few changes have been necessary anyway.

“I feel in very good shape. I am at the peak of my form now, so I am ready to play my third game in-a-row. We are improving from match to match and against Ireland we hope to show better play in attack.

“Alexander Yanyushkin will be in the starting line-up as the team’s captain and scrum half. Sergey Trishin will play his first game at his traditional inside centre position.

“The youngest team member, Denis Simplikevich, will also make his debut at the World Cup as the right wing. And finally, Vasily Artemyev will line out at full back, so the new defensive composition looks really interesting.”

Pre-Match Links –

Buckley Fired Up For Russian Challenge

Baseline Was Set In Auckland – Bowe

RWC Audio: Leo Cullen

RWC Audio: Donnacha Ryan

Head-To-Head: Ireland v Russia

Previous Meeting –

2002: Rugby World Cup Qualifier: Russia 3 Ireland 35, Krasnoyarsk

Follow the Ireland team in New Zealand on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.