Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

Rugby World Cup 2019: 14-man Ireland cruise past Samoa and into quarter-finals

Bundee Aki's first half red card made little difference to the Irish in a 47-5 Pool A win

Ireland dominated Samoa from start to finish even after going down a man in the first half. AFP
Ireland dominated Samoa from start to finish even after going down a man in the first half. AFP

Ireland played with 14 men for 50 minutes but still eased into the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup with a seven try, 47-5 thrashing of Samoa in their final Pool A match on Saturday.

Centre Bundee Aki became the seventh player to be shown a red card at the tournament when he was sent off for a high tackle on Samoa fly-half Ulupano Seuteni in the 29th minute but Ireland were already 21-5 up at that stage.

Fly-half Johnny Sexton earned the bonus point that secured their passage with his second try just before halftime and skipper Rory Best, prop Tadgh Furlong, fullback Jordan Larmour, number eight CJ Stander and winger Andrew Conway also crossed.

Fukuoka escaped the violent storm which forced the cancellation of Saturday's other two matches but Typhoon Hagibis could still prevent Japan taking on Scotland on Sunday to decide whether Ireland next face the All Blacks or the Springboks.

"After the Japan game we knew that 10 points would do us and we've done that over the last two games," said Best. "I think it shows a bit about the character of a side when you go a man down. We're in the quarter-finals and whatever happens tomorrow happens."

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said the dismissal was "devastating" for Aki, who faces missing the rest of the tournament.

"It's hard to argue [about the red card] at the moment but it's pretty devastating for Bundee," said Schmidt. "He knows a lot of the Samoan players really well, I know they've got a lot of respect for him and for us it's a really disappointing finish to the night."

Ireland were up 21-5 at the time, but even with a man down they still managed the bonus-point fourth try before half-time when Sexton scored his second.

In the second half, amid farcical scenes of ground staff repairing huge divots that opened up in the newly laid turf, Ireland added three more tries and kept Samoa scoreless.

Already-eliminated Samoa drew two yellow cards in the match and bowed out from a largely disappointing and undisciplined campaign with a solitary win over Russia in four pool games.

"It was pretty tough, very tiring, they really took it to us," said Samoa skipper Jack Lam, his team's sole try-scorer. "It's been a very tough two weeks but we can still hold our heads high."

Updated: October 12, 2019 06:15 PM

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