Rugby World Cup: The permutations and possibilities for Joe Schmidt's side
Clarifying which way the tide will veer depending on the outcome of the game against France16:20 Sunday 11 October 2015, 16:20 11 Oct 2015
Ireland are keeping a steady course at present. Every outing of the Rugby World Cup so far has yielded a victory, even if we had to suck in the chest a bit to squeeze past Italy. And tonight presents the biggest test of the tournament with more at stake than you'd normally care to wager.
Unlike the soccer squad who have one more obstacle to hurdle before qualification talks can begin, the Irish Rugby contingent are already guaranteed qualification. Here is the breakdown of what will befall Joe Schmidt's charges depending on the outcome of this test against France.
If They Win
Winning is always the primary objective of any team facing into a competitive game and the Irish Rugby team are no exception, particularly when it comes to the biggest tournament in the sport. Victory against France will mean they proceed to a quarter-final date with Argentina on Sunday October 18.
Winning would leave Ireland enamoured with a real sense of confidence going into the quarter-finals as Group D winners. It would also guarantee them an extra rest day ahead of the Argentina game.
If They Lose
Remember we mentioned that New Zealand are table toppers ahead of Argentina? And remember what we said about Argentina scorching a path of destruction against Namibia? If that's a measure of the bridesmaid's temperament, then Ireland would be well advised to avoid angering whatever bridezilla there is in New Zealand.
It's also worth mentioning that according to French head coach Philippe Saint-Andre, no Rugby World cup winning side has ever lost a game in the pool stage. The best thing to do is just beat France and be done with it.
Ireland's Chances Against France
Well let's get the bad news out of the way. France have won the last three World Cup meetings against Ireland in 1995, 2003 and 2007 bringing the overall record of 55 wins for France, 31 for Ireland and seven draws. The ill-timed loss of Jared Payne is also a considerable blow to Joe Schmidt's charges.
The alternative view to this however, is that France have yet to beat Ireland under the tutelage of Philippe Saint-Andre and his impression on France reads less enthusiastically compared to Schmidt. The former Leinster coach has steered Ireland to successive Six Nation wins in 2014 and 2015. Schmidt has won 19 out his last 25 games since his appointment three seasons ago while Saint-Andre has won just 20 out of 43.
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