Russia make nine changes for Ireland
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Denis Simplikevich has been named in Russia’s team to face Ireland for their third World Cup match in Kobe on Thursday.
Russia coach Lyn Jones has made nine changes to the starting XV beaten 9-34 by Samoa, but by far the most intriguing is Simplikevich, who plays his club rugby for Enisei-STM in Russia.
Just as in New Zealand in 2011, Simplikevich has not featured in Russia’s first two matches, but eight years ago he marked his World Cup debut, as a 20-year-old, by scoring a try against Ireland in a 12-62 defeat in Rotorua.
Simplikevich is one of only three players (the others are Samoa’s George Harder and Fiji’s Rupeni Caucaunibuca) from a team outside Tier 1 to score a try in each of their first two World Cup matches against Tier 1 opposition.
The nine changes made by Jones between matches are the most by the Bears in World Cup history. The six players that were in the starting XV against Samoa – and will have started in all three RWC 2019 matches for Russia – are Kirill Gotovtsev, Bogdan Fedotko, Tagir Gadzhiev, German Davydov, Kirill Golosnitskiy and Vasily Artemyev.
However, Yury Kushnarev, Russia’s record test caps holder and their all-time leading points scorer, has not been included in the match-day 23 for the match at Kobe Misaki Stadium. Kushnarev scored 14 of Russia’s 19 points in their first two matches in Japan.
Russia: 15 Vasily Artemyev (captain), 14 German Davydov, 13 Igor Galinovskiy, 12 Kirill Golosnitskiy, 11 Denis Simplikevich, 10 Ramil Gaisin, 9 Dmitry Perov, 8 Victor Gresev, 7 Tagir Gadzhiev, 6 Anton Sychev, 5 Bogdan Fedotko, 4 Andrey Garbuzov, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Evgeny Matveev, 1 Andrei Polivalov
Replacements: 16 Stanislav Selskii, 17 Valery Morozov, 18 Vladimir Podrezov, 19 Andrey Ostrikov, 20 Evgeny Elgin, 21 Sergey Ianiushkin, 22 Roman Khodin, 23 Vladimir Ostroushko
Date: Thursday, October 3
Venue: Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City
Kick-off: 19.15 (11.15 UK time, 13.15 Moscow Time, 10.15 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
— Rugby Union Russia (@russiarugby) October 1, 2019