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Rugby World Cup

14-Man Ireland Demolish Samoa

Ireland have made it through to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a brilliant win over Samoa



(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Ireland have ensured a quarter-final place at the Rugby World Cup in Japan with a 47-5 win over Samoa this afternoon in Pool A.

Ireland went into the match needing a bonus-point to secure a last eight place and a brace of tries from Johnny Sexton along with touchdowns from Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Jordan Larmour, CJ Stander and Andrew Conway saw the Irish get the job done despite an early red card to Bundee Aki. 

Ireland got off to a flying start and from a line-out maul captain Best was bundled over in the right-corner within the opening four minutes. Sexton slotted over the conversion to make it 7-0. 

Two minutes later and things got worse for Samoa as hooker Seilala Lam was shown a yellow-card for a high-tackle on Jacob Stockdale. 

The men in green took advantage of the extra man with Furlong receiving the ball close to the line and showing incredible power to barrel through a number of players to touch down. Sexton was perfect from the tee again as they made the most of their earlier dominance.

It was the fly-half who added the third try of the match for his side with Jordan Larmour making a lovely break through the Samoan defence before passing the ball to Sexton who made it over the line for the five-pointer. He converted his own score to make it 21-0 after 21 minutes. 

Five minutes later and Samoa got their first points of the game as captain Jack Lam powered over from close-range following a line-out, however, the extras were missed leaving it at 21-5. 

Ireland were reduced to 14 men two minutes after the try as centre Aki was shown a controversial red card for a high tackle on Ulupano Seuteni who seemed to fall into the tackle but it left the Irish a man down with over 50 minutes remaining. 

However, despite their numerical disadvantage Ireland secured the bonus-point they needed as they had a five-metre scrum near the left-hand touchline from which they went down the short-side through Sexton who raced over for his second of the game. This time around he couldn’t add the extras but it left it at 26-5 going in at the half-time whistle. 

The Irish side came out all guns blazing in the second-half, putting Samoa under a huge amount of pressure as Ireland camped in their 22, winning penalty after penalty.

After being held up on a couple of occasions Ireland continued to batter the defensive line before Conor Murray sent a beautiful skip pass out to Larmour on the right-wing who just simply had to tap the ball down. Sexton knocked over the kick in what was his final piece of action before being taken off. 

Just under the hour mark and Samoa were reduced to 14 once again as TJ Ioane was sent to the sin-bin for conceding multiple penalties as Ireland continued to stay in the Samoan 22. 

Five minutes on and Ireland finally made their pressure count as Stander drove over from close-range with Peter O’Mahony on his shoulder to help bundle him onto the line to ensure they got try number six. Joey Carbery knocked over the extras to stretch the lead out to 40-5. 

With 10 minutes left Ireland were in once again as Carbery produced a wonderful grubber kick through the opposition 22 which Conway darted onto to tap the ball down over the line. Carbery kicked the extra two in what were the final points of the match.

Ireland will now have to wait to see what happens with Scotland and Japan’s game tomorrow with a possibility that it will be cancelled. Depending on what happens Ireland could finish top or second in the pool facing one of New Zealand or South Africa next weekend, while Samoa head home following this defeat. 

Ireland Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Jordan Larmour (9), Keith Earls (7), Robbie Henshaw (7), Bundee Aki (5), Jacob Stockdale (6), Johnny Sexton (8), Conor Murray (8); Cian Healy (7), Rory Best (8), Tadhg Furlong (8), Iain Henderson (7), James Ryan (8), Tadhg Beirne (8), Josh van der Flier (8), CJ Stander (8)

Replacements (9)

Rugby World Cup

Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.



World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video

While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.

The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.  

The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions. 

World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.

Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.  

Statement Ends.

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Rugby World Cup

RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.




How the draw worked

As host nation, France was drawn first and placed randomly in one of the four pools. The teams were then drawn randomly from each band, starting with Band 5 (Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1, Final Qualifier Winner), then Band 4 (Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2), then Band 3 (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy), then Band 2 (Ireland, (France), Australia, Japan) and finally Band 1 (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). The first drawn in each band was placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D.

Draw seedings

Twelve of the 20 teams qualified automatically by finishing in the top three places of their Rugby World Cup 2019 pool. These 12 teams are: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy. Acknowledging the global COVID-19 impact on international rugby in 2020, these teams were seeded based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into the first three bands of four teams.

The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and were allocated for the draw into bands four and five based on relative strength. They are: Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.

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Rugby World Cup

Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023



Image from World Rugby
  • Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
  • 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
  • RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France

World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.

With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.

The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.

The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.

The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.

RWC 2023 qualification principles

  • Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 & Americas 2
  • Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 & Europe 2 
  • Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
  • Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
    The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
  • Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
  • Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner

Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.

“The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event.

“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.

“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”

Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.

“The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered.”

Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.

Official Press Release from World Rugby

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