Sunday 20 October 2019

World Cup permutations: How Pool A stands now and what must happen for Ireland to finish top

Rhys Ruddock is tackled by Igor Galinovskiy and Andrey Ostrikov of Russia during the 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Ireland and Russia at the Kobe Misaki Stadium in Kobe, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Rhys Ruddock is tackled by Igor Galinovskiy and Andrey Ostrikov of Russia during the 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Ireland and Russia at the Kobe Misaki Stadium in Kobe, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ireland took another step towards the World Cup quarter-final with a 35-0 bonus point win over Russia.

Although Joe Schmidt's side performed poorly, Ireland now lead Pool A on 11 points, two ahead of Japan - albeit the hosts have played one game less. Scotland are in third, with five points from two games.

Here are the remaining fixtures in Pool A:

October 5 - Japan vs Samoa

October 9 - Scotland vs Russia

October 12 - Ireland vs Samoa

October 13 - Japan vs Scotland

While it may be a bit presumptuous, if we assume Japan and Scotland pick off bonus point wins in their next games, it will leave the standings like this ahead of the final round of Pool A matches:

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Japan - 14

Ireland 11

Scotland - 10

There are a number of possible outcomes from there. If two teams are level, the tie-breaker is the winner of the head-to-head meeting. If three teams are level, the tie-breaker is points difference.

In the above scenario, Ireland will finish top of Pool A if they beat Samoa with a bonus point and Japan lose to Scotland with one bonus point or less. Ireland could also finish top if they beat Samoa without a bonus point, and Japan lose to Scotland without picking up a bonus point.

However, if Ireland were beat Samoa without a bonus point, Scotland beat Japan with a bonus point, and Japan secure a losing bonus point, all three teams would be on 15 points, and it would come down to points difference.

As it stands, unless Italy pull off a seismic shock in Pool B, New Zealand will finish first with the Springboks in second.

That means that if Ireland top Pool A, a quarter-final with South Africa on Sunday October 20 awaits. A showdown with the All Blacks a day earlier will take place if Joe Schmidt's side come second.

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