Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland thumps Samoa 47-5 to book QF spot

Ireland will face New Zealand or South Africa in a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal after hammering Samoa despite Bundee Aki's red card.

Published : Oct 12, 2019 20:08 IST

Ireland players celebrate their win over Samoa.
Ireland players celebrate their win over Samoa.

Ireland players celebrate their win over Samoa.

Johnny Sexton claimed an 18-point haul as Ireland sealed its place in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals with a 47-5 thrashing of Samoa despite Bundee Aki's red card.

Ireland knew maximum points in its final Pool A match at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium on Saturday would see it through at the expense of Japan or Scotland, which is set to meet on Sunday unless the decisive match is cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

Joe Schmidt's side had the bonus point secured just before half-time, captain Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong crossing before the excellent Sexton scored a brace of tries.

Aki became the first Ireland player to be sent off in a World Cup match for a dangerous tackle on Ulupano Seuteni but it did not prove to be costly.

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Jordan Larmour, CJ Stander and Andrew Conway added further tries in the second half, with Sexton nailing four of five conversion attempts before his replacement Joey Carbery was on target twice.

Ireland holds a two-point lead over Japan and will face New Zealand or South Africa in the last-eight next weekend, while Samoa bows out with a heavy defeat and could only muster a solitary try from Jack Lam in the first half.

Best gave Ireland the start it was looking for when he touched down after four minutes as Samoa was forced back by a driving maul and it soon had a numerical advantage with Seilala Lam sin-binned for a hit on Jacob Stockdale.

Furlong ploughed through tackles for a second five-pointer inside 10 minutes and Sexton exchanged passes with Larmour before rounding off a slick move with a well-worked try.

Johnny Sexton (in picture) celebrates after scoring a try against Samoa.
Sexton successfully converted for a third time, but Ireland was mistaken if it thought it would have things all its own way as Jack Lam forced his way over to get the Pacific Islander on the board.

Aki was given his marching orders with 29 minutes gone when his shoulder caught Seuteni in the face, yet Sexton got the bonus point in the bag just before the break by capitalising on slack defending to cross in the corner.

It was not evident that Schmidt's side were a man down as Conor Murray whipped a pass out for the onrushing Larmour to score wide on the right, Sexton again adding the extras.

Referee Nic Berry sent T.J. Ioane to the sin bin for not rolling away as Ireland dominated, Stander crashing over and Conway getting on the end of Carberry's kick to claim try number seven.

Sexton and Murray get Ireland ticking

There were concerns over Sexton's fitness after he was replaced at half-time in the victory over Russia, having missed the defeat to Japan with a thigh injury.

The World Rugby Player of the Year allayed those fears with a superb all-round performance, controlling the tempo of the game along with the influential Murray, kicking superbly and showing his eye for a try.

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Murray was as composed as ever, combining brilliantly with Sexton and also displaying his quality with ball in hand and the boot before he was replaced just over 10 minutes into the second half.

Aki a big loss, but Henshaw return a boost

Aki will be facing a ban after his dismissal and the barnstorming centre will be a big loss. On a positive note for Schmidt, fellow centre Robbie Henshaw made a timely return and came through his first match of the tournament after recovering from a hamstring injury.

What's next?

Ireland will face either defending champion the All Blacks or the Springboks in Tokyo next weekend, while Samoa is heading home.

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