Ireland secured their Rugby World Cup quarter final place with a 47-5 bonus-point victory over Samoa.
Rory Best scored the opening try of the game after only three minutes, Tadhg Furlong scored the second less than 10 minutes later, and with 21 minutes on the long the score was 21-0 as Johnny Sexton scored and converted Ireland’s third try.
Samoa were given a glimmer of home when they pulled a try back through Jack Lam just a couple of minutes later. And things got better for them and worse for Ireland when Bundee Aki was given a red card for a a tackle direct to the head.
Ireland didn’t let that affect them though, and scored the bonus-point through Sexton on the stroke of half time. Keith Earls then scored his side’s fifth try just eight minutes into the second period. CJ Stander added another on 66 minutes after a sustained period of pressure.
Andrew Conway came off the bench to score Ireland’s 7th and final try of the game with just over 10 minutes left to play, and that’s how it finished.
Going into the match Ireland knew that they would need a bonus-point win to guarantee their progression to the next stage of the competition but were also aware that wind, rain and a less than perfect pitch at the Level5 Stadium would make it a tougher task.
But it didn’t take Joe Schmidt’s side long to score the first try of the game and make the perfect start to a crucial match. Just three minutes on the clock and captain Best went over. Despite a TMO check, the try was awarded and converted by Sexton.
Ireland knew exactly what they needed to do and they weren’t waiting around to get it done. With Samoa a man down due to a yellow card to Seilala Lam for a high tackle, Furlong used his power to score Ireland’s second try within 10 minutes and Samoa found themselves 14-0 down after the conversion.
Sexton was next to go over. The 34-year-old ran through for the try from the inside line to make the score 19-0. Sexton thought about making the conversion easier for himself when he put the ball down, but converted anyway to give Ireland a dominant lead.
But Samoa scored their first try of the game just a couple of minutes later. Jack Lam made the scored 21-5 after bundling his way over the line following a composed line-out. The referee well placed to confirm that Lam has scored underneath a sea of bodies.
Things then got worse for Ireland as they were reduced to 14 men; Aki received a red card for a a tackle direct to the head. Ireland needed to get through to half time and compose themselves, knowing they still needed to hold on to their lead and score one more try to secure their place in the quarter final.
AS IT HAPPENED: Ireland vs Samoa: Rugby World Cup live updates
But Ireland didn’t let those setbacks bother them and continued to hunt for a fourth try. Despite some last ditch defence from Samoa, the brilliant Sexton found a gap in the back-line to sprint through thanks to some quick thinking, and Ireland had the bonus-point try.
26-5 the score at the break.
Ireland made a fast and positive start to the second half and their pressure eventually told with 48 minutes played. Earls was found by a Conor Murray pass on the right flank and Ireland had their first try of the second period to extend their lead to 28 points after a Sexton conversion.
Despite having a man advantage, Samoa were pegged back for the entire second half, unable to deal with the force the Ireland were piling on to them. Stander scored his first try of the game on 66 minutes to make the score 38-5.
Ireland were running riot and an ill-disciplined Samoa were making life difficult for themselves by giving away a huge number of penalties. Conway came off the bench to add another with over 10 minutes left on the clock.
That’s how it finished 47-5 the final score.
Ireland qualify for the next round of the competition. Scotland and Japan will do battle on Sunday, weather depending, to decide who else qualifies from Pool A.
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