Ireland are back in same familiar place; GAA learning speed is a skill

The Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the Rugby World Cup with The Irish Times sports team

Johnny Sexton during Ireland’s captain’s run session this morning in Kobe Misaki Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Johnny Sexton during Ireland’s captain’s run session this morning in Kobe Misaki Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland are looking somewhat like damaged goods going into tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup game against Russia, but head coach Joe Schmidt’s faith in his squad has not been dented by the defeat in Shizuoka. He explains; “we have to maintain our focus on what’s immediately in front of us with these next two games, and then attempt to really reach that level in the quarter-final.” Russia’s captain, Vasily Artemyev, could so easily have lined out in a green jersey after his time in Ireland. The winger is a folk hero in two separate parishes. The Russian teenager was on course to play international rugby for Ireland until rules and regulations over residency were enforced. He sat down with Gavin Cummiskey to talk about his years in Ireland and everything since.

Despite 10 prosperous Schmidt years we find ourselves back in the same familiar place. That’s the opinion of Gordon D’Arcy in his column this morning (Subscriber Only): “It’s hard to see them getting beyond the quarter-final. It’s hard to accept our last glimmer of hope is regressing to the one-off shock. Again.” Former referee Owen Doyle believes that TMOs must play - but not overplay - their part: “As the sharp end of this tournament approaches the importance of accuracy is paramount, it cannot be overemphasised.”

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