060. Matches 36, 38 and 39

RWC2019 Match 36: Ireland 47 Samoa 5

This match could be played on Saturday night because it was out of Typhoon Hagibis path, down in Fukuoka on Kyushu.

A pretty good performance from Ireland considering they played with 14 men after Bundee Aki got a straight red card in the 28th minute for a high shot in an awkward tackle.

Samoa’s defence looked disorganised at times, which might be exhaustion, or it just might be Irish cleverness.

Ireland pick up a bonus point win to take them to 16 points, which is enough to guarantee them a place in the quarters.  But they won’t know whether they are 1st or 2nd in their pool until after Match 40.

Samoa will finish 4th, their 34-nil loss to Scotland being their big disappointment. Much thought needs to go into how to lift the Pasefika teams out of the hole of giving great players to other teams, and not having the resources to gather and grow their own game.

 

RWC2019 Match 38: Tonga 31 USA 19

A really attractive game of rugby from two teams knowing they’re heading home. Not just a last chance to grind out a win, but a chance to show width and speed and enjoyment.

Nothing epitomised that better than Tonga, with the win in their pocket, keeping pressing after the gong to grab a fourth try.

Kudos to USA for playing with ambition: praise to Tonga for playing with skill and panache.

 

RWC2019 Match 39: Wales 35 Uruguay 13

Fumble, bumble and crumble from the Welsh. Not good.

7-6 at halftime, a converted try just after halftime, but it wasn’t until a penalty try at 65 minutes that the Welsh began to move away and make the scoreboard solid. And even then Los Teros score their own converted try at 70 minutes.

Not good for Gatland’s heart pressure, this sort of rubbish. Not good enough to go much deeper into the tournament.

 

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