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Dublin: 2°C Monday 12 April 2021
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Friend's Connacht set for Russia trip to play Ireland's World Cup opponents

The western province are heading back to Russia next week after their memorable Challenge Cup adventure in 2015.

Connacht will be hoping for warmer temperatures in Russia this time around.
Connacht will be hoping for warmer temperatures in Russia this time around.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT WILL CONTINUE their preparations for the new Pro14 season with a pre-season trip to Moscow next week to face one of Ireland’s World Cup opponents in a friendly game.

Andy Friend’s side will play Russia — who Ireland face in their third pool game — on Saturday 7 September, in what will be their first outing of pre-season.

Russia, who have former Leinster and Ulster hooker Mark McDermott on their coaching staff, are preparing for their second World Cup having first qualified in 2011, where they lost all four pool games, including a 62-12 defeat to Ireland in Rotorua.

Ranked 20th in the world, Russia lost 35-22 to Championship side Jersey in a warm-up game today, while they were hammered 85-15 by Italy in their first friendly, conceding 13 tries.

The trip will be a useful workout for Connacht, who return to Russia nearly four years after their memorable Challenge Cup adventure in 2015 to play Enisei-STM in Krasnoyarsk.

Ahead of their Pro14 season opener away at Scarlets on Saturday 28 September, the western province host Munster in a pre-season friendly at the Sportsground seven days previous.

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Ryan Bailey

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