13 Oct 2019

Rugby World Cup: Manu Samoa sign off with a whimper

6:31 am on 13 October 2019

Two more yellow cards consigned Samoa to a crushing 47-5 defeat by Ireland as their Rugby World Cup campaign ended with a whimper in Fukuoka on Saturday.

Ireland finished the match with a whopping 75 percent possession and 81 percent territory despite the fact Bundee Aki was sent off just before the half hour mark, after making direct contact with the head of Samoan first five UJ Seuteni, who was unable to return to the field.

Ireland midfielder Bundee Aki is sent off in his side's win over Samoa.

Ireland midfielder Bundee Aki is sent off in his side's win over Samoa. Photo: Photosport

The Irish were already leading 21-5 by that stage but still managed to seal a bonus point try just before half-time and finished the game with 26 unanswered points, setting up a blockbuster quarter final clash against either New Zealand or South Africa.

Captain Jack Lam scored Samoa's only try from a well-constructed lineout drive but they spent most of the game bogged down defending their own goal-line, while the few opportunities they had on attack were squandered by simple errors or poor decision-making.

Johnny Sexton scored two tries and finished with 18 points.

Johnny Sexton scored two tries and finished with 18 points. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Manu were pinged 17 times by referee Nic Berry and had Seilala Lam and TJ Ioane sent to the sin bin, bringing their total haul to seven yellow cards in four matches.

Coach Steve Jackson said a lack of discipline let them down but Ireland were simply too good.

"Another 20 minutes here in that game with only 14 men but they spent just about the whole game with only 14 men," he said.

"Look, they were really good at set-piece time and they scrum well, mauled extremely well and tactically with a man down they played really well and throughouly deserved their victory tonight."

Samoa flanker TJ Ioane is wrapped up by the Irish defence.

TJ Ioane was one of two Samoan players to be yellow carded. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Jackson said the Irish starved them of possession and showed why they are one of the best teams in the world.

"They went to extremely good 10-man rugby, didn't they? Their forwards took control and defensively they rushed the line-speed and put a lot of pressure on us when we had the ball," Jackson lamented.

"Pretty smart the way that they just took control of that game, knowing that they went down to 14 men but for us ill discipline and we ended up going to 14 men and matched them, which is frustrating."

Tadhg Furlong was among the try-scorers for Ireland.

Tadhg Furlong was among the try-scorers for Ireland. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Bundee Aki looked close to tears when he was sent off in the first half and spent a long time with the Samoan team at the end of the match, hugging, talking and praying with the players and coaching staff on the pitch.

Samoa captain Jack Lam said there were no hard feelings.

"I just said to him look you know how we feel so there were no hard feelings, he knew what he'd done," he said.

"I'll just add on to that, hopefully it doesn't get ruined by him missing a couple of weeks out of the game so hopefully we get to see him in the finals."

Bundee Aki leaves the field after being sent off against Samoa.

Bundee Aki leaves the field after being sent off against Samoa. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Steve Jackson said it had got to the point where it's the "toss of a coin" what will happen from high tackles but made it clear he did not want Bundee Aki to face any further sanction and would do whatever he could to help.

"I've know Bundee for a long long time and what a great man and he's got great character and he doesn't go out there to do that to anybody," he said.

"Like Jack just said, hopefully the powers that be see some some sense and hopefully he gets to continue on in this tournament because he's a great kid."

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said Aki was "devastated" at his sending off, especially against the country of his parents.

Joe Schmidt.

Joe Schmidt. Photo: Photosport

He insisted the midfielder was trying to make a fair tackle but accepted his future participation in the tournament was now out of their hands.

"I think Bundee is upright. You can see both his hands behind the shoulder blades of the player who's just starting to come up and it's all split-second stuff," he said.

"So we live in hope and we will see what the judiciary decide but once it's a red card you sense a loss of control over what happens next, no matter what you try to present we knows there's a very hard line."