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Ireland to go 'fully in' with XV selection as Samoa clash sure to go ahead

World Rugby is intent on the fixture taking place this weekend.

IRELAND’S CLASH WITH Samoa in Pool A of the World Cup is set to go ahead even if a change of venue is required.

Joe Schmidt’s side are due to meet the Samoans in their final pool-stage game on Saturday in Fukuoka, but the possibility of Typhoon Hagibis hitting southern Japan has led to some doubt around whether the fixture would go ahead.

With some forecasts for the typhoon now suggesting that it will steer clear of Fukuoka and the rest of the island of Kyushu, it may be that Ireland’s game goes ahead at the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium on Saturday. 

france-v-united-states-pool-b-2019-rugby-world-cup-fukuoka-hakatanomori-stadium Ireland are due to face Samoa at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium. Source: Adam Davy

However, even if forecasts continue to predict stormy conditions in Fukuoka and risk the game being postponed there, it appears that the fixture will go ahead with a change of venue.

Either way, it seems certain that World Rugby will do their utmost to avoid the farcical possible situation of Ireland’s game being cancelled, which would leave Joe Schmidt’s side and the Samoans officially recording a 0-0 draw.

That would potentially mean Ireland exiting the World Cup if Scotland beat Russia on Wednesday and Japan on Sunday. For Schmidt’s side to be knocked out in those circumstances would be a bizarre situation that World Rugby seems very keen to avoid.

As such, Ireland are planning and preparing for Saturday’s game against Samoa to go ahead, with another World Rugby update on the situation due tomorrow.

Schmidt’s men are determined to secure the bonus-point win that would guarantee them a quarter-final place regardless of the outcome of Japan v Scotland clash in Yokohama on Sunday.

Ireland could still qualify with a regular victory but they are eager to deliver their best display of this World Cup yet, meaning Schmidt and his coaches will likely select their strongest available team to face the Samoans.

conor-murray-and-bundee-aki Ireland trained in Fukuoka today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

While there had been some suggestions in recent weeks that Ireland might look to wrap certain players in cotton wool a week out from a possible quarter-final, assistant coach Andy Farrell stressed that would not be the case.

“It’s definitely not an option,” said Farrell. “No, this game is super important to us. We’re fully in. We’re after the best performance of the competition. It was a pretty good one against Scotland and there’s been a bit of a lull since then.

“We’re trying to hit those highs again. It’s not easy doing that because Samoa are a good side. They’re a big, physical side – we know what’s coming our way.

“But it’s not just that. We’ve got to respect the game for what it should be, it’s a massive game for Ireland, for the players and for everyone in the group.”  

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Fukuoka

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