The daily tournament preview packs down with Rugby World Cup tips as Ireland wrap up their pool campaign against Samoa.
21:15 (AEDT), Sat 12th Oct @ Level-5 Stadium, Fukuoka City
History: Played 6: Ireland 5 V Samoa 1
Last meeting: November 9, 2013: Ireland 40 d Samoa 9 at Aviva Stadium
Final thoughts: The super-typhoon that has overshadowed the last weekend of the 2019 Rugby World Cup’s group stage leaves just one match on Saturday – a crunch clash between Ireland and Samoa.
Ireland need a win to guarantee they qualify for the quarter-finals. They could also snare top spot in Pool A, depending on the result (or potential cancellation) of Sunday’s Japan-Scotland showdown.
The No.1-ranked Irish opened their campaign with an authoritative 27-3 victory, scoring three tries in the opening 25 minutes.
But after leading Japan 12-3, they crashed to a shock 19-12 loss to the hosts a week later. Ireland were made to pay for naming an almost completely changed backline. Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney returned to play behind a new-look forward pack for the encounter with Russia, garnering a modest 35-0 win over the minnows.
Samoa scored a 34-9 win over Russia after trailing midway through the first half. Wingers Alapati Leiua and Ed Fidow both picked up doubles.
But they were thumped 34-0 by Scotland after a try-less opening half-hour, before fading in the second half again in a 38-19 loss to Japan.
Kearney has made way at fullback for Jordan Larmour, while centre Robbie Henshaw makes his first start of the tournament for Ireland. Prop Logovii Mulipola and lock Teofilo Paulo are the only new faces in Samoa’s line-up.
This is the nations’ maiden World Cup meeting. Four of Ireland’s five wins over Samoa – the most recent in 2013 – were by margins of 26 or more.
Samoa’s sole defeat of Ireland came in Dublin in 1996.
Under-pressure Ireland need to build some confidence ahead of a daunting quarter-final showdown with either South Africa or New Zealand. But expect the $1.01 to graft their way to victory in a manner similar to their dour win over Russia. Samoa have had their moments at the World Cup and look good value with a hefty start.