Gordon D’Arcy on Rugby World Cup fever; long winter ahead for Kerry, writes Darragh Ó Sé

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Napoli players celebrate their win over Liverpool in the Champions League group stages at the Stadio San Paolo. Photo: Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Napoli players celebrate their win over Liverpool in the Champions League group stages at the Stadio San Paolo. Photo: Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Just two days to go now until the big kick-off in Japan and things are heating up. In around an hour’s time or so we will have the latest news from the Ireland camp in Chiba, including a probable team for Sunday’s opening clash with Scotland. Before that, there’s plenty for you to read including our 32-page Rugby World Cup magazine which comes with today’s newspaper, complete with wallchart so make sure to pick up a copy. Meanwhile, Gordon D’Arcy writes this morning that Ireland, New Zealand and Argentina are best primed to thrill in Japan. “Flying under the radar is the only way to go. The Irish fans, while a joy to behold, will be all-consuming from now on. And then there’s the Scots, who must throw all they are worth at Sunday’s game,” he writes. 

Moving on and the big news from yesterday was that Welsh coach Rob Howley has been sent home from their World Cup base to face a betting investigation for allegedly breaching World Rugby regulations. If found guilty, Howley could be banned for life from the game and Paul Rees writes that the former scrum-half, for all his success and personal charm, was never really a hit with fans. Meanwhile, former referee Owen Doyle will be writing for The Irish Times throughout the tournament and he pens his first column today, saying that as we enter the tournament we’re at high risk mode of serious injury. Don’t forget you can follow all of the build-up to Japan with columns, analysis, news, interviews, stats, fixtures and much more on our dedicated 2019 Rugby World Cup site.

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