Ireland calm for Samoa clash amid Rugby World Cup typhoon turmoil
Ireland skipper Rory Best is taking a philosophical approach to Oct. 12’s critical clash with Samoa, keeping calm as Typhoon Hagibis wreaks havoc on the Rugby World Cup schedule.
Ireland must score a bonus point win (with four tries) to keep its fate in its own hands in a three-way battle for two quarterfinal spots from the hotly contested Pool A.
Scotland and Japan, the two other contenders, will not know until hours before kickoff on Oct. 13 whether their game will go ahead as the typhoon powers towards their Yokohama venue.
Ireland will definitely play its match in Fukuoka, several hundred kilometers southwest of Hagibis’ projected path and this “probably makes it easier” for Ireland, according to Best.
“We go out, we play our game. You assume the [Scotland-Japan] game goes ahead on Sunday and, if it doesn’t, you cross that bridge when you come to it.”
Among the various scenarios to decide the pool, if Ireland does not score four tries, it could finish the pool phase with only one loss but still be on an early flight home.
Best said his green machine did not lack confidence, but needed a bit of polish after being too good for Scotland and Russia but suffering a shock loss to Japan.
“The bits we did well were very typical of us. The bits we didn’t do well... we didn’t follow through with some of the fundamentals that we do really well when we’re on top of our game,” he said.
“When you look at that, you take confidence you’re in a good place, but you just need to execute better.”
Like Pacific island neighbors Tonga and Fiji, Samoa are making an early exit but want to go out in style.
Coach Steve Jackson said his team will take inspiration from Tonga, which pushed France to the limit in its final game, and Fiji, which did the same against Wales.
“Ireland is in the top three teams in the world and we’re just going there to throw everything at it,” he said.
“What better opportunity to finish the World Cup? Knowing that we’re on an airplane on Monday, going home, to have a scalp like that would be great.”