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Rugby World Cup

Unconvincing Ireland Seal Win Over Russia

Ireland have got their World Cup back on track with a win over Russia following their shock loss to Japan last weekend

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(Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Ireland have come out on top 35-0 in a sloppy game this morning against Russia in Pool A of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The men in green took time to seal the bonus-point but tries from Rob Kearney, Peter O’Mahony, Rhys Ruddock, Andrew Conway and Garry Ringrose saw Ireland pick up maximum points in their Pool A encounter. 

Ireland made a brilliant start to the game with a try inside the opening two minutes as Jordi Murphy sent a lovely inside pass to Kearney following a set-piece. Kearney showed some great pace to break through the Russian defence and put the ball over the whitewash. 

Johnny Sexton added the extras to make it 7-0. 

Ten minutes later and Ireland doubled their lead after some good work in open play led to Sexton sending a perfect grubber kick straight through the centre of the 22 where O’Mahony raced onto the ball and touched down under the posts. Sexton slotted over the simple conversion. 

The game slowed down a little after that score, but there was bad news for Ireland on 27  minutes Murphy, who was only brought into the squad during the week following an injury to Jack Conan, was forced off through injury. CJ Stander came on to replace him although it was far from ideal for the Irish.

Russia were down to 14 men on 34 minutes as second-row Bogdan Fedatko was sin-binned for a succession of penalties conceded. 

A minute on and Ireland had try number three as Ruddock barrelled over the line from close range with the help of John Ryan and O’Mahony. Again, Sexton was perfect from the tee in what was the final score of the half, leaving it at 21-0 come the whistle. 

Things got from bad to worse for Russia 10 minutes into the second-half as substitute second-rower Andrey Ostrikov was handed a yellow card for a dangerous clear-out on Ryan. 

However, despite Ireland having a man extra they couldn’t make the advantage count over those ten minutes as it took until the 62nd minute for the bonus-point try to come. 

Replacement fly-half Jack Carty chipped over the top around half-way, with Keith Earls catching before passing it to the oncoming Conway, who was never going to be caught as he got in under the posts. Carty ensured the extra two, making it 28-0. 

A brilliant late break with four minutes remaining from sub Jordan Larmour, who exchanged passes with Keith Earls before then passing to Ringrose who ran in for the team’s fifth try of the game. Carty kicked the points from in front of the posts in what was the last score of the game to give them a 35-0 win.

Ireland will now look to make sure of a quarter-final spot with a win in their final pool game against Samoa next weekend, knowing another bonus-point win could still see them progress as pool winners depending on other results. While Russia will hope to finish their World Cup on a high when they take on Scotland next Wednesday. 

Ireland Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Rob Kearney (7), Andrew Conway (7), Garry Ringrose (8), Bundee Aki (6), Keith Earls (7), Johnny Sexton (7), Luke McGrath (8), Jordi Murphy (6), Peter O’Mahony (8), Rhys Ruddock (9), Jean Kleyn (6), Tadhg Beirne (7), John Ryan (7), Niall Scannell (7), Dave Kilcoyne (7)

Replacements (7)

International

Ireland Climb in Latest World Rankings

Ireland have had the biggest boost in the latest World Rugby Rankings ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw later this year

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ireland have leapfrogged Wales in the latest World Rugby Rankings of the the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in November of this year.

The boys in green have taken over the No 4 spot in the rankings following their 24-14 win over Wales in the Six Nations over the weekend, with their opponents dropping down to fifth. 

It is a major boost for the Irish and gives them something to hold on to heading into the rest of this year’s fixtures as they are now currently in the top seeds ahead of the draw for the pool stages of France 2023. 

World Rugby announced recently that they will hold the draw later this year meaning that teams will have less time to climb the rankings than last time around when they had 18 months between the previous World Cup and the draw for the next one. 

A total of twelve teams will head into the draw as seeds in three brackets with the top four in the rankings being first seeds, meaning as of now Wales would be second seeds along with France, Australia and Japan. 

While Scotland, Argentina, Italy and Fiji are in the third bracket, with the remainder of the teams to be decided through different qualifiers over the next three years. 

Elsewhere in the rankings Georgia have moved up ahead of Italy, following the former’s latest two defeats in the Six Nations, while the biggest risers have been Portugal, who have moved from 22nd to 20th, but Russia have dived from 20th to 25th. 

Ireland will be hoping to continue their perfect start to the Six Nations campaign when they take on the third-ranked team England away from home, whom they may look to overtake in the rankings before the draw. 

It is certainly heating up between the Six Nations teams as they try to be the best-placed behind South Africa and New Zealand, who take the first and second spots, but won’t play until the summer.

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Rugby World Cup

World Rugby Confirm Timing of 2023 RWC Draw

World Rugby have confirmed when they will be hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw and it has put pressure on teams to get positive results this year

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

World Rugby has announced that it will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in November of this year.

The tournament will take place in France with the draw being held in Paris following the November internationals. 

That means that teams only have between now and then to better their current rankings and move into a different drawing band, whereas for the previous draw they had 18 months to improve. 

Speaking on the announcement World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont is excited to discover the fate of the teams and has put the pressure on teams to do well this year. 

“The pool draw is an important milestone on the road to Rugby World Cup 2023 in France as it really drives excitement and momentum both in the host nation and throughout the global rugby family – it is the moment teams and fans can start to plan. With the World Rugby rankings determining the bands for the RWC 2023 pool draw, it promises to be a fascinating year of men’s international rugby with every match counting towards seeding at the end of the November Test series,” he said. 

Twelve of the 20 participating teams from last year’s World Cup in Japan have automatically qualified, with the other eight to be decided in the qualifiers that will begin later this year. 

However, the twelve teams that are already involved will have to be at their best to move up a band in the current rankings or fear dropping down in which case they could get a harder draw. 

As of this moment the first band contains the World Cup semi-finalists from last year in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Wales, with the remaining quarter-finalists making up band two in Ireland, Australia, Japan and France. 

While in band three Scotland and Argentina are joined by Italy and Fiji. 

It will be a tough task for teams to improve their current standings with the Six Nations teams only having one edition of the tournament to improve compared to the two editions they had last time around, but it does add some extra competition to this year’s fixtures.

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International

Fans Player of the Decade Confirmed

World Rugby have announced the winner of their Fans Player of the Decade vote and there’s no surprise who’s won

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(Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter has been named World Rugby’s Fans Player of the Decade following their polls over the past couple of weeks.

The organisation narrowed the competition down to 16 players, as they split them into a last-16 style format, with backs on one side and forwards on the other. With two players going head-to-head in the polls to make it through to each respective round. 

Last week it was brought down to the final four, with all of them being New Zealand internationals as Carter was pitted up against Beauden Barrett, with Richie McCaw facing Kieran Read. 

McCaw and Carter were victorious and now Carter has come out as the overall winner as the best player over the past 10-years. 

It is not hard to see why fans have gone for the 112-cap All Black, who finished up his international career in 2015, having guided his country to historic back-to-back Rugby World Cup crowns. 

As well as that he holds the title for the most points scored at test-level rugby with an incredible 1598 to his name. 

On the international stage he was impressive, but he has been equally so at club-level, winning domestic crowns in both France with Racing 92 and in Japan with the Kobelco Steelers. 

The 37-year-old is still under contract with the Japanese outfit, but has been unable to play for them for the majority of the year, having suffered a major injury, which also prevented him from a brief return to Racing 92 for the latter-half of last season. 

However, he is poised to return to the playing field shortly and will be hoping to guide his team to further success and will have the aid of another All Black great joining him in the form of Brodie Retallick, who is linking up with the side for the season during his year sabbatical.  

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