Ireland bounces back from shock Rugby World Cup defeat, cruises past Russia

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A shock defeat by Japan Saturday meant this was a must-win game for Ireland, which came into the tournament as the world’s top-ranked side, and two tries inside the first 15 minutes gave Joe Schmidt’s men a comfortable cushion.

But it proved not to be wholly plain sailing against a stubborn Russian team that had lost its opening two games against Japan and Samoa.

Ireland stuttered for large parts of the match, not wrapping up the four-try bonus point until just after the hour mark when Andrew Conway raced clear following a deft Jack Carty kick.

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Johnny Sexton returned to the Ireland lineup after injury forced him to miss the game against Japan.

Greasy conditions in Kobe meant the error count was high from both sides, as has often been the case at this World Cup.

Ireland, however, never looked like losing the contest after tries from Rob Kearney and Peter O’Mahony had established an early 14-point lead. Rhys Ruddock got the game’s third score before halftime but it took 25 minutes for Conway to secure the full five points for his side.

Carty and Keith Earls combined to put Garry Ringrose over for Ireland’s fifth, completing a comprehensive — if not entirely fluid — victory.

The result means that Ireland is still well-placed to reach the quarterfinals after an opening victory against Scotland, with one more pool game against Samoa to negotiate before then.

More to follow

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