Ireland face Scotland in Pool B decider

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Saturday’s Pool B decider in the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be a straight shoot-out between the top ranked Ireland, and world number five side, Scotland in Paris. The winner progresses to the knock-out stages alongside South Africa.

The only way the Springboks won’t advance to the last eight, is if Scotland thrash the Irish, who in turn earn a losing bonus point. It’s unlikely, but not a permutation that can be ruled out.

Saturday’s all celtic clash promises to extend the intrigue of the pool stages in this World Cup just a little bit longer before the quarter-finals are finally established. Ireland will face a spirited Scotland, in a win or go home style clash.
Ireland coach Andy Farrell wants his side to make life simple for the number one team in the world and just win….

Ireland head coach, Andy Farrell says it’s a huge game.

“It’s a massive game, it’s so important to, to us and certainly obviously to them. But to the travelling fans and the people back home, etc. It’s a huge game. We have Iain Henderson in our group who’s good at maths, so we’re across everything as far as that’s concerned, but the easiest way is to make sure that we perform well and deserve to win the game outright.”

Ireland have not played since their 13-8 win over the Springboks some two weeks ago. Their captain Johnny Sexton says the squad has had sufficient time to absorb that momentous victory, and refocus on the task of beating Scotland.

“It was a very special atmosphere, a very special occasion in that South African game. And, you know, we enjoyed it after, and I think the fact that we had a game off, as in the weekend off, allowed us to do that. Normally, if you have a game the following week, you almost have to start preparing straight away. But you know, we enjoyed the night and the celebrations and then it’s back then to Scotland. But in terms of this week, I know there’s lots of Irish fans coming again. I’m sure the Scottish fans will travel, so we’d probably make for an even more special atmosphere because it would be 50-50 I’m sure.”

Scotland, meanwhile, are hoping they can shock the rugby world. Their coach Gregor Townsend at the very least wants his team to keep playing until the final whistle.

“The pressure of sport is always there. No one knows who will win the game at kick off, anything can happen. It’s about adapting to situations, but keep bringing your focus when things are going really well to keep on going really well, but also to make sure you’re back on track as a team when things aren’t going your way because you can get momentum back, you can change a scoreline very quickly. I know this team can do that and we have done that.”

Scotland captain, Jamie Ritchie also maintains that Ireland carry all the pressure going into this match-up.

“I don’t think we’ve got anything to lose in this game. Obviously, if we lose the game we’re going home, but like I said we’ve been written off, we’ve faced the top two teams in the world but for us, we’re not going to die wondering. We’ve got a fire in our gut and we’ve got to go out there and play our best game and it’s in our hands from now, so the pressure’s off in that sense.”

South Africa will be concerned only if Scotland are able to beat Ireland by more than 21 points and collect a bonus point, and Ireland get a losing bonus point. If that happens, then the defending world champions are heading home.