October 10th, 2019

IRELAND V SAMOA

PREVIEW

Typhoon Hagibis, which has already caused the cancelations of England V France and New Zealand V Italy, may well still have a part to play in Pool A. This fixture goes ahead, but if the Scotland V Japan game is cancelled, the significance of the result here is essentially zero. Scotland must beat Japan in order to qualify for the quarter finals, a result also needed by Ireland if they are to have any chance of topping the Pool.  

Irrespective of what happens elsewhere, a win against Samoa will guarantee Ireland’s progression to the quarter finals, and that must be the only focus for this squad right now.  

A lot was made of their perceived struggles against a much inferior Russia side last weekend. And although they laboured at times, particularly in the third quarter, a 35-0 bonus point victory was more than adequate given the psychological and climactic conditions. 

Samoa’s slim hopes of progression were ended by Japan last weekend, but they are a proud rugby nation who will want to finish their World Cup on a positive note. They are noted for their physicality as well as their technique and Ireland’s success will come as much from avoiding key injuries as winning convincingly on the scoreboard. 

TEAM NEWS

Connor Murray and Johnny Sexton will start at 9 and 10. Robbie Henshaw returns from injury to make his first appearance at the World Cup, and he will partner Bundee Aki in midfield. Jordan Larmour returns at full back and a first choice front row of Healy, Best and Furlong completes a strong looking Irish side. Gary Ringrose and Peter O’Mahony, who have started all three matches so far are presumably rested with the Quarter Final in mind.

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