Ireland 47-5 Samoa Rugby World Cup Match Report
Ireland earned a bonus point victory to secure a place in the quarter-finals with a resounding 47-5 victory over Samoa but the win may come at a price with key man Bundee Aki likely to miss the next round following his 29th-minute red card.
The controversy surrounding new high tackle rules continues to intensify following the dismissal of Ireland’s powerhouse centre with even Samoa coach Steve Jackson pleading for clemency when Aki faces a World Rugby disciplinary tribunal later this week.
Born to Samoan parents and raised in New Zealand, Aki had more reason than most to impress in this one and even more so in a potential last-eight fixture against his fatherland. The likely absence of the Connacht centre who sets the tempo in the middle of the Irish pack is another blow for Ireland following something of an underwhelming start to the World Cup.
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Ireland still not at their best
The Irish moved to the top of Pool A with this seven-try victory which included two for Johnny Sexton as well as scores for Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Jordan Larmour, CJ Stander and Andrew Conway.
Some loose passing hinted at the sloppiness which has been evident in the Irish ranks at the World Cup. But yet to find the form which propelled them to world number one this year, Ireland’s passage to the quarters was never in doubt up against a visibly drained Samoan XV. Joe Schmidt’s men dealt with Ireland’s first-ever World Cup dismissal with ease.
The performances of Sexton alongside Conor Murray was particularly notable with the pair making a 55th Test appearance to equal the Irish halfback partnership record held by Peter Stringer and Ronan O'Gara. Impressive outings from Keith Earls and man of the match Jordan Larmour also hint at better to come from the green jerseys.
Discipline issues again for Samoa
The Samoan squad head back to the South Pacific after a disappointing tournament with only an unconvincing victory over Russia in their Pool A opener to show for their 2019 Rugby World Cup. It was a familiar tale of indiscipline and conceded penalties for Samoa which hastened Ireland to victory with ease.
Two more yellow cards in Saturday’s fixture mean Samoa exit the World Cup having had twice as many sin-bin entrants than the next most offending teams in the group stage, while 17 penalties conceded to Ireland’s five meant this became nothing more than a gimme for the Irish.
First half - impressive Ireland see red
Joe Schmidt made 11 changes to the Irish side which beat Russia with midfielder Robbie Henshaw making his bow at the World Cup following a hamstring injury. Samoa made just two changes with a remodelled forward line with London Irish lock Filo Paulo and Newcastle Falcons’ prop Logovi'i Mulipola drafted into the XV.
In control from the start inside a wind-blown Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Ireland took the lead after just three minutes with captain Rory Best touching down following a rolling maul driving over the line. Johnny Sexton added the extras from the first of his four successful conversions of the match.
Samoa hooker Seilala Lam entered the bin after just six minutes and next up for Ireland was a converted try from Tadhg Furlong who broke through four would-be tacklers to power over from close range on nine minutes. Sexton had his side on the cusp of the bonus point with just a quarter of the game gone after interlinking with Larmour to walk over and then add the extras himself.
Samoa’s struggles were temporarily halted with a Jack Lam try on 25 minutes following a lapse in concentration in the Irish defence before the Aki red card handed them a numerical advantage four minutes later.
But Samoa were simply unable to capitalise on their opponents being a man down and Sexton’s second try of the match just before the interval meant it was already job done for the Irish with the match in the bag and the vital bonus point secured.
Second half - weary Samoa
Having come in for a rested Rob Kearney, Larmour underlined his credentials for a place in the starting line-up for the quarters with Ireland’s fifth just after the break after being set up by Conor Murray.
Samoa were back to fourteen on the pitch as the hour mark approached as TJ Ioane was sent to kick his heels for repeated infringements.
CJ Stander picked up from the ruck on 65 minutes to make it six for Ireland before Andrew Conway added a seventh and final Irish score on 70 to allow a weary-looking Samoan XV a quiet final 10 minutes to reflect on their World Cup exit.
Ireland were dominant and professional throughout but in truth, Samoa looked a side beaten from the start and failed to pick up a single point in the 50 minutes that they had a man advantage. Ireland advance to face New Zealand in a tie that many might have expected to be the final.
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