Schmidt admits typhoon talk a distraction as Ireland look to seal quarter-final

The other Pool A game between Japan and Scotland is not certain to go ahead.

IRELAND BOSS JOE Schmidt said the chaotic situation of World Cup games being cancelled has been a distraction for his squad in the build-up to their final pool game against Samoa on Saturday.

Initially, Ireland’s game in Fukuoka appeared most likely to be affected by Super Typhoon Hagibis but the projected path of the storm has veered north and caused two World Cup games to be cancelled by World Rugby.

joe-schmidt Schmidt at Ireland training in Fukuoka today. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland’s own clash with Samoa will go ahead on Saturday, although the crucial final Pool A game between hosts Japan and Scotland – which could impact Ireland – in Yokohama is not certain to go ahead

Ireland know that a bonus-point win over Samoa in Fukuoka would guarantee them a World Cup quarter-final place, but all the chat about the typhoon has been distracting.

“There was a lot of talk among the players post-training today when we found out,” said Schmidt after naming his team to face Samoa.

“Because any time there’s something up in the air or something is unknown, especially when two games have already been abandoned, players are going to talk about that because it’s newsworthy and influential once games are being cancelled.

“But we’ve just got to make sure our game gets finished with the right result for us and I’m sure Samoa are going to out to make that as difficult for us as possible.”

Should Ireland beat the Samoans with a bonus point to secure a quarter-final spot, they’re still unsure exactly when and where they will be moving ahead of the knock-out games.

They could yet face Pool B winners New Zealand or runners-up South Africa if they secure a quarter-final place. Schmidt said that Ireland haven’t been in regular contact with World Rugby about their own game in Fukuoka or anything else.

“We’re not really having too many conversations with World Rugby, we had a few earlier in the week because at one stage the typhoon pattern was somewhat different from what it is now,” said Schmidt.

“But for us, it’s just business as usual. We can’t control what happens with the Japan-Scotland game, so on Saturday it’s up to us to get our business done as best we can.”

joe-schmidt-speaks-to-the-players Ireland will face Samoa on Saturday in Fukuoka. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Asked if the Japan v Scotland game being cancelled would damage the integrity of the World Cup – with the Scots potentially exiting the competition as a result – Schmidt indicated that he had sympathy for all players, coaches and fans affected by cancellations.

Reports have suggested that Italy are deeply disappointed that their clash with New Zealand has been cancelled, particularly with players such as Leonardo Ghiraldini having been set to play their final Tests.

“It’s not something I can control, I only know what we need to do – we need to get out and get a result,” said Schmidt.

“It’s a situation nobody wanted to have. I know there are several teams who are massively disappointed their games have already been abandoned.

“With the amount of people travelling to games, there are supporters and certainly players disappointed.

“Some players are playing in their last World Cup, there’s no bigger game than getting to play against some of the biggest players in the world game, and they are missing that opportunity.

“So do I think that from that perspective that’s disappointing, but from our perspective all we can do really is what we can control, and as much as possible that’s what our full focus is on.”

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