If you were on your nerves that the Springboks’ play-off round party might be spoiled tonight at the Stade de France; don’t worry, you can just go to sleep peacefully.
Ireland just overcame Scotland 36 – 14 to emerge as the winners of Group B, followed by the Springboks with their 15 points after four matches.
This means that next weekend Johnny Sexton will face the All Blacks in one of the quarter-finals, while France await South Africa in the other play-off.
The Irish now put the dumb Scots under sustained pressure and James Lowe scored the first try of the game within 65 seconds.
There are a multitude of weapons in Ireland’s attacking arsenal and a short time later Hugo Keenan scored the first of his two tries when he slid over the Scots’ goal line.
The bonus point for four tries was already in the bag just before half-time and the Irish enjoyed a water-drinking lead of 26 – 0.
There was a big fuss in the run-up to the showdown about Scotland’s ability to bark with the big rugby dogs.
Well, it was much more of a lap dog than a bulldog performance and their night was actually summed up perfectly when Ollie Smith was sent off with a yellow card for pawing Sexton.
At least the bagpipers were able to catch fire after 60 minutes of play when Ewan Ashman and Ali Price finally fooled the Irish defence.
But then it was already too late; the Irish started celebrating a long time ago.
It is true that Ireland have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a World Cup tournament, but they are a well-oiled machine that plays strong point rugby.
They will be hard to stop.
Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan (2), James Lowe, Iain Henderson, Dan Sheehan and Garry Ringrose. Goals: Johnny Sexton (3).
Scotland: Tries: Ewan Ashman and Ali Price. Goals: Finn Russell.
- Group B standings:
- Ireland: 19 points after four games
- South Africa: 15 points after four matches
- Scotland: 10 points after four games
- Tonga: no points after three matches
- Romania: no points after three games.