KOBE – Ireland began to resurrect their World Cup campaign after their shock loss to Japan with a scrappy 35-0 bonus-point victory on Thursday over a stubborn Russia in Kobe that moved them to the top of Pool A and strengthened their quarter-final chances.
Ireland have 11 points, while unbeaten Japan (nine) face Samoa (five) in Toyota City on Saturday. Scotland also have five points and play Russia next Wednesday in Shizuoka before ending pool play against the tournament hosts in Yokohama on Oct. 13.
Fullback Rob Kearney and loose forwards Peter O'Mahony and Rhys Ruddock scored first half tries for Ireland, but it took until the 62nd minute before wing Andrew Conway crossed for the bonus point that kept them in the hunt for the knockout phase.
The fact Joe Schmidt's side struggled to put away a limited Russia side, who had Bogdan Fedotoko and Andrey Ostrikov yellow carded either side of halftime, would do little for their fans' waning hopes they could reach their first semi-final in Japan.
".we needed the support tonight to take confidence..."@IrishRugby head coach Joe Schmidt praises the Irish fans for giving his players a needed confidence boost as they beat Russia at #RWC2019#IREvRUS pic.twitter.com/sALA2wQSCk— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 3, 2019