Russians aiming for chaos
Russia plan to spoil Japan's big day by bringing "chaos" to the opening match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The Brave Blossoms begin their home tournament by hosting Lyn Jones' side in Tokyo today (Live RTE2/Eir Sport 1 KO 11.45), raising the curtain on six weeks of rugby ahead of the final in Yokohama on November 2.
But Russia - beaten 85-15 by Italy during a warm-up programme that also saw them lose to Connacht and Jersey - hope to spring a surprise by inflicting a defeat that would do serious damage to Japan's ambition of making it out of a pool that also features Ireland, Scotland and Samoa.
"We watched the last four or five games of Japan," said Russia captain Vasily Artemyev. "They have a very structured, organised game. We need to bring chaos into their organisation."
Japan coach Jamie Joseph has made seven changes to the side beaten 41-7 by South Africa earlier this month. Joseph's men had to overturn a 22-10 half-time deficit to win 32-27 when these sides last met in Gloucester in November.