Ireland eased to a 47-5 win over Samoa in its final Rugby World Cup group game on Saturday as Typhoon Hagibis battered the host nation but will have to wait until Sunday to find out who it will face in the quarterfinals.
The win – secured with seven tries including a brace from fly-half Johnny Sexton – means Ireland currently top Pool A with 16 points, ahead of Japan’s 14 and Scotland’s 10. Japan and Scotland are due to meet in Yokohama on Sunday, though the game remains in doubt because of the devastating storm.
Typhoon Hagibis made landfall on Saturday night local time as hurricane-force winds battered infrastructure and killed two people. Tokyo and nearby Yokohama are at the center of the storm.
Weekend games between New Zealand and Italy as well as France and England had already been canceled Thursday, with Saturday’s Formula One qualifying at the Japanese Grand Prix also canceled.
Ravaged by Typhoon Hagibis, Japan perhaps got the huge lift it needed when its rugby team beat Scotland 28-21 on home soil to reach a first ever World Cup quarterfinal.
A resounding win
Not that Ireland were concerned with that for the 80 minutes against Samoa in Fukuoka, western Japan, some 1,100 kilometers away from Tokyo. Having already lost once in this tournament – a 19-12 defeat to Japan that few saw coming – coach Joe Schmidt’s team would have been eager to lay down a marker ahead of the knockout phase.
The first score came after just three minutes when captain and hooker Rory Best finished from the back of a driving maul.
Winger Jacob Stockdale received the Samoan restart and charged up the field where he was clattered by Seilala Lam. The referee deemed the challenge illegal and replays justified the brandished yellow card for a high shoulder.
The Irish forwards enjoyed the man advantage and dictated the early exchanges. It was another front-rower who dotted down when Tadhg Furlong scored his second try of the competition on 10 minutes. The burly prop gave a show-and-go before finishing from eight meters out.
The game threatened to become a rout when Sexton – who scored 18 points on the night – was on the receiving end of a delightful inside ball from his fullback Jordan Larmour and had an easy run to the line. Sexton converted and the score read 21-0 after 21 minutes.