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Hard Yards: Ireland are through but who else claimed their spot?

Irish eyes may have been concentrating on Dunedin but there was plenty of other action at the World Cup this morning. Here’s what you need to know…

Image: Rob Griffith/AP/Press Association Images

IRELAND HAVE MADE it.

Another decent performance from Declan Kidney’s men has Ireland into the last 16 of the Rugby World Cup where they will face nearby rivals Wales.

Here’s a quick review of everything important that happened if you didn’t quite make it as far as your TV in the early hours.

Ireland 36-6 Italy

At this stage of the 2007 World Cup in France, the Irish nation, players and team management were all wondering what had gone so horribly wrong. Four years on and many of the same faces are in New Zealand – this time, in contrast, Ireland are winning and have now claimed a place in the quarter-finals.

Ronan O’Gara’s reliable boot had Ireland in front 9-6 at half-time as the expected set piece battle raged between the two teams.

Whatever was said at the break worked though, as the Irish were much improved in the second half and it was captain Brian O’Driscoll who went over for the crucial first try of the contest. Keith Earls grabbed another two for his own personal tally and even Jonny Sexton got on to knock a penalty and conversion between the posts.

Another good day for Irish rugby. Wales will be tough though. Very tough. Watch the highlights of Ireland’s win here.

Argentina 25-7 Georgia

Semi-finalists from 2007, Argentina claimed their place in the last 16 courtesy of a comfortable victory over Georgia – officially ending Scotland’s involvement in the tournament in the process.

The Scots needed Georgia to win by more than eight points to progress and while the European side did lead at one stage, three tries from more points from the boot of Felipe Contepomi confirmed passage for the men in blue and white.

Argentina will now face New Zealand in the next round in what will be a real test of their credentials.

New Zealand 79-15 Canada

THE biggest talking point for locals in New Zealand over the past 24 hours has been the devastating news (for them!) that Dan Carter is out of the rest of the tournament because of injury.

The All Blacks did not miss his talents too much on Sunday, scrum-half Piri Weepu helping Colin Slade out with the kicking duties, as they ran in 12 tries in a 79-15 pool win over Canada. However, the loss of their star number ten is a massive blow and there are much bigger challenges ahead.

Zac Guildford claimed a first-half hat-trick of tries to set the Kiwis on their way to the quarter-finals and six more five-point scores followed in the second half with Victor Vito, Israel Dagg, Mils Muliaina, Jimmy Cowan, Jerome Kaino and Sonny Bill Williams are crossing the whitewash.

Wales 66-0 Fiji

In case anyone was in doubt about the talent to be found in Warren Gatland’s squad, Wales’ 66-0 demolision of Fiji should end any Irish complacency.

The men in red had their bonus-point win sealed by half time on the back of tries by Jamie Roberts, Scott Williams, their new star winger George North and Sam Warburton. The scoring continued after the break with Lloyd Burns, Leigh Halfpenny, Lloyd Williams and Jonathan Davies all getting in on the act.

The Welsh scrum was well on top throughout, North’s surges caused endless problems for Fiji and Rhys Priestland continues to do enough at ten to kept veteran Stephen Jones on the bench. In short, Wales are going well ahead of their quarter-final clash with Ireland.

One vulnerability the Irish will no doubt be looking at, however, is the Welsh lineout where errors were a little too common for Gatland’s liking.

The lowdown on Wales

People of a nervous disposition should look away now… watch highlights of Wales’ crushing defeat of Fiji.

What all this means

There are now four Six Nations teams, three Tri-Nations teams and Argentina into the quarter-finals with all four fixtures being played next weekend

  • Ireland v Wales
  • England v France
  • South Africa v Australia
  • New Zealand v Argentina

It was a Good Day for Ireland, as they brushed Italy aside in the second half to qualify top of Pool C ahead of Australia. Yup, ahead of Australia. Let’s say that one more time… AHEAD of Australia.

It was a Bad Day for Fiji. A disappointing end to a poor tournament for a side that you would always expect to cause problems for opponents.

READ – Match report: Ireland show the world they’re here to play

READ – As it happened: Ireland v Italy

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