Ireland face Samoa needing bonus-point win amid concerns about pitch

Robbie Henshaw will get his first taste of action in this World Cup

Robbie Henshaw will get his first taste of action in this World Cup

'With stability and performance the key considerations, World Rugby and JR 2019 took the decision to re-turf the playing surface following significant wear caused by the France versus U.S. match after heavy rainfall as a outcome of Typhoon 17.

If Japan secure two losing bonus points - by scoring four or more tries and losing by seven points or fewer - they would finish on 16 points and qualify as Pool A winners.

Ireland will be wary, but given what is on the line for them if they do take five points, Schmidt's team will go in with confidence that they can get the job done.

Typhoon Hagibis is not expected to impact on Ireland's clash with Samoa on Saturday in Fukuoka, where kick-off is at 11.45 am Irish time.

After another weird day at the World Cup, Japan coach Jamie Joseph slammed those who he felt undermined his side's efforts by suggesting the Brave Blossoms would prefer the easy way out and have the game cancelled, which would result in a 0-0 draw and two points each.

Schmidt spent minutes examining problematic strips of turf, showing several areas to both scrum coach Feek and Ireland's head of operations Ger Carmody. Ireland and Samoa meet on Saturday before the pivotal Scotland-Japan match on Sunday - assuming Typhoon Hagibis doesn't have other ideas. "Of course you'd be disappointed, and all the rest of it".

Feek, who played test rugby for New Zealand, said it has been important for Ireland's players not to get too distracted by the growing typhoon talk - or about what might happen to the Scots.

"That's all you can do, really, prepare our guys as best we can but also we're going to try to make sure the scrum stays up, not just for safety but for the game itself".

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"They're going to be ultra-excited to get the ball in their hand, they're going to be looking to do as much damage to us as possible", he said.

Ireland's expectation is that Somoa will front up in a very physical way and after failing to catch fire in their previous two games there seems little prospect that Schmidt's team will give the underdogs anything other than respect. "No matter what decision is made, it wouldn't have been easy calling a game of rugby off. let alone at the World Cup". The 31-year-old made the fearless - and financially costly - decision to put Samoa first, hoping such a principled stand will shine a light on the murkier concerns for Pacific Islands talents.

Italy's veteran captain Sergio Parisse blasted tournament organizers as "ridiculous" for not putting into place what he called a "Plan B" to ensure games got re-arranged.

Ireland's players sympathized on a personal level with Parisse, but kept in mind wider safety issues.

"It doesn't look great, to be honest with you", said Keith Earls at this morning's press conference at the stadium.

"I suppose it's going to be the same for both teams".

Despite the uncertainty, Ireland number eight CJ Stander insisted that the squad have not been distracted by the weather concerns. If I would have been in that situation, personally it would have been tough as well. "All the hard word has paid off in the first three games, but it doesn't mean anything if we don't win this weekend".

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