Ireland vs Romania – Rugby World Cup LIVE: Johnny Sexton returns at fly half as Andy Farrell’s world No 1-ranked side bid to make a winning start to their tough Pool B campaign in Bordeaux

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Follow Mail Sport’s live blog for all the latest as Ireland get their Rugby World Cup campaign underway against Romania

How ruthless will Ireland be?

Is Jonny Sexton back to match sharpness already, or is it going to take a while to readjust in his first game back since the Six Nations?

There’s lots of expectation among the Ireland camp, it’s time to see what results come from that.

How will the teams cope with the heat?

It’s a gorgeous day in Bordeaux right now, but the heat may be a factor for both sides, who are used to playing in cooler climates. It’s now 34 degrees, and they’re going to be battling it out in two hours of pure sunlight. A fascinating encounter awaits.

Counting down to the start in Bordeaux

Just under 20 minutes to go.

More doom for Romania hiding in the history books

This is the tenth Test meeting between the two sides – and Ireland have won all nine previous games, most recently in the 44-10 win over Romania at Wembley Stadium in the 2015 World Cup.

Based on the predictions of many pundits and fans, a 34-point victory today would feel like a disappointment for Ireland.

Jonny Sexton returns

Through injury and then a three match suspension, Jonny Sexton has been out of action since March. He’s back to captain his country now, in his farewell year. What role will he play as Ireland get going in France?

BORDEAUX, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 09: Johnny Sexton of Ireland arrives at the stadium prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Ireland and Romania at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on September 09, 2023 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Elsewhere in Group B…

Group B is a tough challenge for all concerned, with Scotland, South Africa and Tonga the other teams in this group, fighting for just two spots in the quarter-final.

South Africa and Scotland face off tomorrow afternoon. Tonga’s first match is against Ireland next Saturday. Romania face South Africa the following day.

Head-to-head record at the World Cup

Romania have come up against today’s opponents three times before in Rugby World Cup competition. Three games, three wins for Ireland. Nobody is expecting them to claim their first victory this afternoon – but this is sport, and anything can happen.

Romania team news

This is the team chosen by Romania Head Coach Eugen Apjok for the test of trying to topple the world’s best team. He’s made three changes from their heavy defeat to Italy three weeks ago. Cristi Chirica captains the side in Bordeaux.

Ireland team news

Ireland have confirmed their previously announced team, with one change among the replacements. Mack Hansen comes into the 23, replacing Robbie Henshaw, who misses out as a precaution.

Jonny Sexton captains the side in his first outing since March, while forwards Dan Sheehan, Jack Conan and Dave Kilcoyne remain absent through injury.

Hello and welcome to Ireland vs Romania

Hello, and welcome to Mail Sport’s live coverage of the first match in Group B of this year’s Rugby World Cup, seeing Ireland – the world’s leading team by ranking – take on Romania.

After France’s win yesterday, and Italy dominant in action right now, Andy Farrell’s side will also want to get off to the best possible start.

Action in Bordeaux begins at 3.30pm local time, which is 2.30pm in Ireland and the UK, or about an hour away. We’ll have all the build-up and action right here.

BORDEAUX, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 09: Andy Farrell, Head Coach of Ireland, arrives prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Ireland and Romania at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on September 09, 2023 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Andy Farrell, Ireland’s Head Coach, arrives at the stadium ahead of the match



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