Ireland 47-5 Samoa
Ireland got the job done against Samoa, scoring four tries for a bonus point before half-time.
Bundee Aki was red-carded for a high tackle making contact wth the head of UJ Seuteni, and will almost certainly be banned for the quarter-final next weekend. It’s yet another red card that has affected a game, and you can be sure there will be more to come in the knockout stages where the stakes are so much higher.
These tough sanctions are the only way to get people tackling lower and reducing the number of head injuries, but this is a painful process to be going through in order to get to that outcome.
Ireland dominated this game through the set piece, driving mauls and pick-and-go rugby, and whilst they might be keeping a few moves up their sleeves, they aren’t looking like a team that will beat New Zealand at the moment.
What did you think of the match? It wasn’t exactly a thriller, and the state of the pitch wasn’t great either.
My prediction was a little conservative in the end, despite the red card!
Day 20 Preview
It remains to be seen how much Rugby will played on Sunday, given the havoc that Hagibis is already wreaking in Japan, but this is the lineup of games as things stand.
Namibia v Canada
I’ve been disappointed with Canada so far, and I’m leaning towards Namibia to win their first-ever Rugby World Cup match. World Rugby have said that this match is at risk of cancellation too.
Namibia by 7
USA v Tonga
Tonga have had the better of recent fixtures against the USA, and given the short turnaround and with little at stake, I’m giving it to Tonga.
Tonga by 9
Wales v Uruguay
This will be Wales’ second-string side, but they will still have enough to beat Uruguay and top their group. Hat-trick hero Josh Adams starts again, with Rhys Patchell at fly-half as the only fit 10 in the Wales squad.
Wales by 28
Japan v Scotland
This is a huge fixture, with the fate of both teams and Ireland at stake, and it should be a fitting finale to the World Cup pool stages. Scotland won by 35 points when the teams met at the last World Cup, which was a few days after Japan’s victory over the Springboks, and they also met in 2016 with Scotland winning both Tests by 13 and 5 points respectively.
Japan’s victory over Ireland was no fluke and they were the better team on the day, but I just wonder if there was some complacency amongst the Irish and they were caught out, where the Scots should be much better prepared. My initial instinct was a narrow win for Japan, who would win the group and face South Africa in the quarter-finals, but I think given the fuss the Scots have made, if the game is played they’ll be so desperate to win, but if Japan get a bonus point, the Scots will still be out.
Scotland by 4