Ireland get the bonus-point win they needed against Samoa to guarantee a quarter-final berth
Played – 7
Ireland wins – 6
Samoa wins – 1
Did You Know?
- Rory Best led Ireland for the 37th time, overtaking Keith Wood to move into second place behind Brian O’Driscoll (83) in the list of players who have captained Ireland the most.
- This was the 16th time Ireland’s front row of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong have been selected together – a record for any front row in matches since RWC 2015. They move ahead of France’s Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado and Rabah Slimani.
- Bundee Aki became the first Ireland player to be sent off at a World Cup.
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In A Nutshell
As Typhoon Hagibis battered Japan’s main island, the Ireland v Samoa fixture in Fukuoka went ahead as planned. With clear skies and a bit of wind, the pitch – re-laid for this match and prone to churning up – was probably the toughest of the conditions for the players to contend with.
Ireland had the all-important bonus point they needed to ensure passage to the last eight secured by half-time – but they were also down to 14 men.
Bundee Aki was sent off after half an hour for a dangerous high tackle on Samoa fly-half Ulupano Seutini and the men in green had to play the remaining 50 minutes a man down. They dealt with it well, though, and shut down the Samoa attack for large periods of the second half.
It was the power and accuracy of Ireland’s set-piece that delivered two tries inside the first ten minutes. For the first, Iain Henderson won the lineout, transferred the ball quickly and Rory Best touched down from the ensuing maul.
Henderson was again the lineout receiver for the second try, but this time the maul didn’t get going as effectively. Various carriers took the ball on in the Samoan 22 before it was spread to Tadhg Furlong in the wider channels and the prop spun through four tacklers then stretched for the line.
Next it was time for the backs to show their skill-set. Midway through the half, Jordan Larmour dummied and cut between two Samoan defenders, then fed the ball to Johnny Sexton on the inside and the fly-half sprinted over.
Samoa came back into the game with a try of their own, Jack Lam being powered over by a couple of team-mates following a five-metre lineout.
The Aki red card slowed Ireland’s momentum for a while but they got the crucial fourth try just before the break. From a five-metre scrum, Conor Murray passed to his half-back partner Sexton, who darted over from close range.
The way Ireland started the second half, you wouldn’t know they had a numbers disadvantage. They camped in the Samoan half for the opening ten minutes and had a series of penalties in the 22.
After opting for five-metre scrums from a couple, they then took a quick tap and after the initial carry Murray delivered a pinpoint miss-pass to Larmour on the wing to score.
Samoa barely ventured into the Ireland half in the second period and the match became very fractured with replacements flowing onto the pitch, Joe Schmidt mindful of getting his key players off ahead of next weekend’s quarter-final.
The Irish did add another two tries in the last quarter, CJ Stander going over from close range with a little help from Peter O’Mahony and Andrew Conway touching down a Joe Carbery kick through.
Samoa thought they had got a second try from a driving maul of their own in the last five minutes but it was ruled out by the TMO for a double movement.
The match then petered out in the last five minutes but the predominantly Irish crowd will have left happy knowing that their team’s involvement in the World Cup will last at least another week.
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Tadhg Furlong put in an impressive shift at tighthead, Jordan Larmour showed some good touches while Johnny Sexton managed play well and scored two tries, but we’re giving the gong to Conor Murray.
The Ireland scrum-half departed early in the second period, but he was the man dictating the tempo of the game and delivering the quick ball that kept Samoa on the back foot. Plus, he had two assists: sending Sexton over in the first half and Larmour – thanks to an exquisite long pass – in the second.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt: “The second half probably wasn’t great to watch, but it was comforting to know we were in the right part of the pitch. We went to strong points for us – maul and scrum, close carries – as with a man down that’s the strong suit you to play to.”
Samoa coach Steve Jackson: “Ireland were really good at set-piece time, scrummed well and mauled extremely well. Tactically, with a man down they played very well and deserved the victory. I think it was 86-14 territory and 75-25 possession – you can’t win games like that. They starved us of the ball.”
Ireland: Jordan Larmour; Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw (Andrew Conway 62), Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton (Joey Carbery 50), Conor Murray (Luke McGrath 53); Cian Healy (Dave Kilcoyne 57), Rory Best (captain, Niall Scannell 50), Tadhg Furlong (Andrew Porter 45), Iain Henderson, James Ryan (Jean Kleyn 57), Tadhg Beirne (Peter O’Mahony 60), Josh Van der Flier, CJ Stander.
Tries: Best 4, Furlong 9, Sexton 21, 40, Larmour 49, Stander 66, Conway 70. Cons: Sexton 4, Carbery 2.
Red card: Aki 29min.
Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams; Ah See Tuala, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Ed Fidow (Kieron Fonotia 50); Ulupano Seuteni (Tusi Pisi 29), Dwayne Polataivao (Pele Cowley 70); Logovii Mulipola (Jordan Lay 47), Seilala Lam (Ray Niuia 47), Michael Alaalatoa (Paul Alo-Emile 53), Teofilo Paulo (Ray Niuia 14-17, Piula Faasalele 53), Kane Le’aupepe, Chris Vui, TJ Ioane (Josh Tyrell 70), Jack Lam (captain).
Try: J Lam 26.
Yellow cards: S Lam 6min, Ioane 59min.
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