Rugby World Cup 2019: 14-man Ireland thrash Samoa to secure QF spot -Typhoon Hagibis and the courts will decide against who
By COLIN BARTLEY
WHAT we know is Ireland have secured a Rugby World Cup quarter-final next weekend after a 47-05 victory over Samoa this morning.
What we don’t know is who we will face in that game. That depends on many factors, including a game that may or may not happen, Typhoon Hagibis, and even a possible court case.
Ireland have no control over that, all they had control of this morning was their own destiny. Win the game with a four-try bonus point and Ireland secure a quarter-final spot.
And they had the ideal start when Rory Best went over after three minutes. After eight minutes, New Ross’s Tadhg Furlong went in for Ireland’s second, and on 20 minutes Johnny Sexton got in on the act scoring Ireland’s third – Ireland 21-0 ahead after 21 minutes and in total control.
Then came the 10 minutes that could have cost Ireland their place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Samoa struck back. Some sloppy play by Ireland from the restart allowed Samoa a foothold in the Irish 22, Ireland conceded a penalty and Samoa opted to kick for touch and take a lineout.
Samoa won the lineout, set up a rolling maul, and after two or three pick and goes, Jack Lam (of yellow card fame 20 minutes earlier) got over for a try. I’m sure all the tournament’s remaining teams took note of how easily the Samoans crossed the line.
Then the moment that could have ended Ireland’s World Cup, Bundee Aki saw a red card for a high tackle. On reflection, the referee made the right call, and thankfully the card didn’t unsettle the Irish.
Despite Samoa’s man advantage, Sexton dotted down for the bonus point try and a 26-5 Ireland lead at half-time.
Samoa’s second half onslaught never materialised, Ireland shut down their supply from the kickoff and set up base camp in the Samoan’s half. On 50 minutes Ireland got a fifth try. A beautiful Conor Murray pass got Jordan Larmor over in the corner.
Quarter-final secured Ireland coach Joe Schmidt took off some key players Murray, Sexton, Best, Furlong, Ryan and Healy all whipped off to preserve for next weekend.
On 64 minutes, the excellent CJ Stander got over for Ireland’s sixth try. Ireland’s seventh came on 70 minutes when Andrew Conway chased down a Joey Carbery grubber into the corner.
Final whistle blown, drama over in Ireland’s case. Now we wait to see whether we face New Zealand or South Africa, a decision on whom will either play out on the pitch or in a courtroom. Intriguing!