Ireland move into quarter-finals by crushing Samoa

Paola Ditto
Ottobre 12, 2019

Feek said the pitch's condition could compromise scrummaging between Ireland and Samoa.

"They told us in an email, both teams knew about it, we knew that they had to relay the pitch a bit, so we obviously went out there and had a bit of an inspection and we've been given all assurances by World Rugby that it's safe to play on and that's all we can ask for", Feek said.

Ireland's assistant coach Greg Feek says he did not want to cause any more controversy at this stage.

"It doesn't look great, to be honest with you, but it's flat and quite firm", said Earls. "We were trying to alleviate any concerns when we were out there, but then it's just a matter of wait and see".

"The referee will be aware of it, so that's the key".

"It doesn't feel too bad to run on". That's the way it felt out there today. "But I'm not going to get into the politics of the other stuff". "We just have to get on with the job".

The pitch will nearly certainly cut up tomorrow, especially at scrum time and Feek admitted that he was anxious about it.

"This is probably one of the biggest games that we could play and win, being ranked where we are (14th) and they are in the top five in the world". "We've got a good group of guys in keeping our focus on a good Samoan team".

Despite the uncertainty, Ireland number eight CJ Stander insisted that the squad have not been distracted by the weather concerns.

"I feel sorry for the players like Parisse and Ghiraldini who are playing their last World Cup game and they don't get to do it against New Zealand, but I'm personally just concentrating on my game and concentrating on our game".

"We saw a few grass patches but it's actually A grade grass, I think it just needs a bit more time, but there's nothing we can do about that now".

The question marks over the playing surface in Fukuoka, which was closely scrutinised by Schmidt and his staff during Friday's captain's run, have added another dimension to the build-up.

"We have no special presents for him, he'll get the same treatment as everyone else", Lam said.

A World Rugby statement cited "player welfare as the reason for relaying the surface which has cut up badly over the course of the tournament".

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.

'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 US match after heavy rainfall as a outcome of Typhoon 17. The primary driver was player welfare. Some of their players sacrificed club contracts to be able to play in a Rugby World Cup and how they emerge from the tournament could have a big bearing on what happens next for them. "While the look of the turf may not be flawless, as would be expected with a very recent installation, we are confident that the pitch will perform superbly".

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