IRELAND are chasing their first ever World Cup triumph this autumn in Japan.
Joe Schmidt’s side come into the tournament as the No1 ranked side in the world – but will be without first-choice fly-half Johnny Sexton in their Pool match against the hosts.
Why isn’t Johnny Sexton playing for Ireland?
SEXTON is regarded as one of Ireland’s best players and made his debut back in 2009.
He is vice-captain of the side and has scored over 700 points in a glittering international career.
But Ireland won’t be able to call on him as they go up against hosts Japan in Fukuroi City.
Sexton limped out of the win over Scotland with a thigh complaint – and hasn’t been able to shake off the injury in time to feature in this one.
He hasn’t been named among the replacements but will be targeting a comeback against Russia on October 3.
Coach Joe Schmidt revealed: “Johnny is never happy about being left out.
“He got a little mileage against Scotland and we thought about bringing him off the bench, but it’s a case of being confident in the squad. He keeps himself in good condition and he’s a guy who can come back and hit the ground running.”
Connacht’s Jack Carty has been named in the starting XV to replace him.
Ireland vs Japan teams
Ireland: Kearney; Earls, Ringrose, Farrell, Stockdale; Carty, Murray; Healy, Best, Furlong, Henderson, James Ryan; O’Mahony, van der Flier, Stander.
Replacements: Cronin, Kilcoyne, Porter, Beirne, Ruddock, McGrath, Carbery, Larmour.
Japan: Yamanaka; Matsushima, Lafaele, Nakamura, Tupou; Tamura, Nagare; Inagaki, Horie, Koo, Thompson, Moore; Himeno, Labuschagne, Mafi.
Replacements: Sakate, Nakajima, Ai Valu, van der Walt, Tanaka, Matsua, Lava Lemeki.
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Rugby World Cup Pool A fixtures and results
Japanese time in brackets.
Friday, September 20: Japan 30-10 Russia
Sunday, September 22: Ireland 27-3 Scotland
Tuesday, September 24: Russia 9-34 Samoa
Saturday, September 28: Japan vs Ireland – 8.15am (4.15pm)
Monday, September 30: Scotland vs Samoa – 11.15am (7.15pm)
Thursday, October 3: Ireland vs Russia – 11.15am (7.15pm)
Saturday, October 5: Japan vs Samoa – 11.30am (7.30pm)
Wednesday, October 9: Scotland vs Russia – 8.15am (4.15pm)
Saturday, October 12: Ireland vs Samoa – 11.45am (7.45pm)
Sunday, October 13: Japan vs Scotland – 11.45am (7.45pm)