#RWC newsletter: Captain Sexton's dream and Joe Schmidt's greatest challenge

As Ireland hunkers down for the arrival Thursday of Hurricane Lorenzo (has a weather event ever sounded as masculine?), over in Japan the boys in green are slowly moving on from the wreckage of last Saturday’s storm in Shizuoka.

#RWC newsletter: Captain Sexton's dream and Joe Schmidt's greatest challenge

As Ireland hunkers down for the arrival Thursday of Hurricane Lorenzo (has a weather event ever sounded as masculine?), over in Japan the boys in green are slowly moving on from the wreckage of last Saturday’s storm in Shizuoka.

The first step comes against Russia this Thursday (Ireland are 1/1,000 favourites) with a new captain in the shape of Johnny Sexton who has declared himself fully fit and ready to reignite our RWC mission at the Kobe Misaki Stadium (11.15am, RTÉ Two and Eir Sport).

Given his incredible resumé in terms of individual and team accolades, it is somewhat surprising to see Sexton’s delight at being handed the armband and he admitted the honour was “something that I've thought about since I was a kid”.

The fact Thursday’s game will be played with a closed roof means the heat will be on in more ways that one for the Irish. (As an aside, Scotland and Samoa made a staggering 34 handling errors at the same venue on Monday).

Donal Lenihan insists the advantage which the host nation has when it comes to dealing with the oppressive temperatures and humidity must not be underplayed:

“At every scrum and line out the hosts looked their opposite number in the eye and all they saw were men on the ropes. That convinced them to go even harder at the next breakdown and inflict as much physical punishment as possible. With the brain frazzled in the heat, Ireland made too many poor decisions. When the mind goes, crazy things tend to happen.”

You can read his column here on the biggest challenge of Joe Schmidt's coaching career here.

If the rugby analysis gig doesn’t work out for Donal then he might consider a foray into a career as a travel correspondent. Today’s ‘Daily Donal’ segment (with thanks to Nissan Ireland) features his guide to the 'Great Buddha' statue in Kamakura, one of the country's most famous monuments. Watch your back, Tommy Bowe.

And on the matter of awe-inspiring sights, you will be relieved to learn that Brendan O’Brien has been reunited with his clothes following a visit to a traditional Japanese onsen.

Suitably attired, he found his way to the Russia camp where damage limitation appears to be the name of the game for a side still chasing a first win in the tournament.

Ireland’s loss to Japan was the result heard around the world - with few watching more intently than the South Africans who may be forced to reassess their opposition for the last eight as Craig Ray explains in his Eye on South Africa segment.

There mighn’t be action on the field at the Rugby World Cup on the first day of October, but that doesn’t mean players and coaches aren’t stepping up to the mic. Here’s what the various camps have been saying.

RWC19 Podcast: The Japan inquest. ‘Only so many times you can bounce back before getting a headache’

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