We have two advised selections for the clash between Ireland and Samoa!
The penultimate game in pool A sees Ireland face Samoa in Fukuoka City – with Joe Schmidt’s side looking to book their place in the quarter-finals.
The Irish were stunned by Japan a couple of weeks ago, before producing a fairly lacklustre effort against Russia – eventually running out 35-0 victors. Schmidt will be thankful that this fixture hasn’t fallen foul of Typhoon Hagibis and his sides’ destiny is still very much in their own hands.
A bonus point win will secure Ireland a place in the last eight regardless of the outcome of Japan v Scotland on Sunday (which may be abandoned) and the selectors have named a powerful side who look more than capable of securing the four tries.
Robbie Henshaw returns at outside centre to make his first appearance of the tournament after a hamstring injury side-lined him for the opening three matches. He partners Bundee Aki in midfield with Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray in the half-backs.
The first choice front-row of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong also return along with James Ryan and Iain Henderson in the engine room.
Samoa have failed to fire during this World Cup, they produced their best display of the tournament against Japan last weekend but were still well beaten by the hosts. And while it is always dangerous to write off the Samoans their last 15 matches have produced just three wins against Tonga, Spain and Russia.
One of the things fans love about Samoan rugby is the physicality with which they play the game, but there is no doubt they have crossed the line on a few occasions in Japan - they have already received one red card in the World Cup and probably should have had two others.
In a game where they could become frustrated by Ireland who will look to grind them down with a lot of phase play a sending off is reasonably priced at 6/1 and well worth a go.
With Sexton and Murray back to pull the strings it’s difficult to imagine anything other than a Ireland victory – especially if they produce a performance like they did against Scotland on the opening weekend.
With that in mind I’m going for an Ireland win by 31-40 points, they know they need the bonus point to guarantee their spot in the quarters and this Samoa team don’t look like the sides we have seen in years past.