Japan’s wing Kenki Fukuoka scores a try during the  Rugby World Cup Pool A match against  Scotland at the International Stadium in Yokohama. Photograph:  Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Ireland will now playworld champions New Zealand in the last eight next Saturday

Tadhg Furlong en-route to scoring his stunning try in Ireland’s win over Samoa. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty

Tighthead’s try one to tell the grandkids with world class Andrew Porter waiting in the wings

Joey Carbery seemed back to full fitness as Ireland beat Samoa in Fukuoka. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

Ireland outhalf came on for Sexton and displayed his full array of skills against Samoa

Bundee Aki is consoled by Jack Lam after he is shown a red card during Ireland’s win over Samoa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Coach Steve Jackson hopes World Rugby will ‘see sense’ after Aki’s red a for high tackle

Tadhg Furlong crashes over for Ireland’s second try in Fukuoka. Photograph: Jayne Russell/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over a resurgent Ireland after their win in Fukuoka

Ireland’s Jordan  Larmour in Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka, preparing for the game against Samoa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Is the young player a free bird currently caged by the Irish system and a departing coach’s overwhelming authority?

Japan’s head coach Jamie Joseph has hit out at Scotland for threatening legal action over the potential concellation of their Rugby World Cup Pool A meeting on Sunday. Photo: Odd Andersen/Getty Images

Scots say they will take legal action, Japan coach says they want to play just as much

South African referee Jaco Peyer gives a yellow card to Samoa’s flanker TJ Ioane  during the Pool A match between Japan and Samoa at the City of Toyota Stadium last Saturday. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

No sign of typhoon but Ireland could still be hit hard as Samoans have nothing to lose

Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw in training ahead of the Rugby World Cup match against Samoa. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Rugby World Cup: Ireland coach says he’s picked players who can give ‘best preparation’

Filo Paulo is one of those Samoan players out of contract at the moment. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Pacific Islanders have sacrificed to be here and a big performance could secure a contract

Wales’ Jonathan Davies   holds off Fiji’s Jale Vatubua during his side’s win at   Oita Stadium. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Gatland must regenerate squad to face Uruguay but will almost certainly top Pool D

Liam Williams of Wales scores his team’s fourth try during the Rugby World Cup win over Fiji. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Pacific Islanders started off quickly and raced into lead but Gatland’s men hit back

Ireland’s CJ Stander, Andrew Porter and James Ryan during the anthems before their defeat to Japan at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Easterby believes ‘phenomenal athlete’ James Ryan will become ‘one of the greats’

Tadhg Beirne: “Look, I’m always an option at six and Joe knows that.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Demands of tournament taking a heavy toll on Joe Schmidt’s panel strategy in Japan

South Africa fans arrive in Shizuoka ahead of their win over Italy. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty

The brooding Boks sidestep problems while Hotel Love is the place to stay in Nagoya

Andy Farrell has urged Ireland to use their Japan setback as a positive. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Incoming coach says embrace the setbacks, Springboks look too big for Ireland to handle

Jordi Murphy goes off injured during Ireland’s win over Russia. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Part of contingency plan could be to move fixture to Sunday at the same stadium

Samoa’s  Henry Taefu  is tackled by Japan’s  Michael Leitch  during their  World Cup Pool A match  at the City of Toyota Stadium. Photograph:  Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

Schmidt must be wary of Samoan desire to land a significant blow at the World Cup

Japan’s wing Kotaro Matsushima scores a try against Samoa during the  Pool A victory for the hosts   at the City of Toyota Stadium. Japan now have an eight-day rest before a huge game against Scotland.  Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty

Joseph’s side have serious momentum for the defining Yokohama clash with Scots

Tim Nanai-Williams of Samoa receives treatment during the defeat to Japan. Photograph:  Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Steve Jackson: ‘At the moment we don’t know where we stand’

Japan’s Kenki Fukuoka runs in to score a try during the 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match against Samoa. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images

Pressure returned to Ireland and Scotland after hosts do their bit in Toyota City

Japan prop Isileli Nakajima (left) celebrates victory over Ireland  at the Ecopa stadium in Shizuoka. Photograph:  William West/AFP/Getty Images

The Japanese public has taken to devouring rugby stories as it gets to know its heroes

Cheslin Kolbe skates in to scores South Africa’s third try in their demolition of Italy. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty

South Africa deliver a performance of menace and muscle as Andrea Lovotti sees red

Johnny Sexton stabs through a kick for Peter O’Mahony to score Ireland’s second try in Kobe. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Outhalf ran show for 40 imperious minutes before being wrapped in cotton wool again

Ireland’s Andrew Conway looks to break through Vladimir Podrezov of Russia during their Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game at Kobe Misaki Stadium on Thursday. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ireland accentuate the positive after 35-0 victory over Russia on a rainy night in Kobe

Ireland’s Garry Ringrose is tackled by Igor Galinovskiy and Vasily Artemyev of Russia during the 2019 Rugby World Cup match in Kobe. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Russian coach Lyn Jones believes Ireland may lack sting in tail of the All Blacks

Gavin Cummiskey looks at Irish performances after an underwhelming win over Russia

Ireland’s Joey Carbery has been replaced in the squad by Conor Murray. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Conor Murray replaces him as scrumhalf cover for pool match against Russia

“Samoa were really physical against Scotland the other night but the points came in the last 12 minutes because the Samoan boys were out on their feet.” Photograph:  Craig Mercer/MB Media/ Getty Images

Ireland must endure purgatory of intense humidity during showdown with Russians

Russia captain Vasily Artemyev (right) celebreates with team-mate  Kirill Golosnitskiy after the winger scored his side’s first try in the  Rugby World Cup  Group A game against  hosts Japan  at the Tokyo Stadium in the opening game of the competition. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Russian captain could so easily have lined out in a green jersey after his time in Ireland

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt during a press conference in Kobe on Tuesday. Photograph: Inpho

Joe Schmidt: ‘we’ve now got the feedback that three of those were incorrect calls’

Ireland’s players take part in a training session at the Steelers training ground in Kobe. Photograph: Getty Images

The Misaki is like playing rugby inside a sauna and water breaks will be allowed

Andrew Conway: expected to feature in the Ireland squad to face  Russia in Kobe’s sweltering Misaki Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘These are not meant to be ironman competitions, but they’re turning into that’

Scotland’s scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw celebrates after scoring a try against Samoa. Photograph: Getty Images

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg on there on the grass having fun and shape shifting

Referee Romain Poite speaks to Australia’s flanker Michael Hooper and centre Samu Kerevi during the Rugby World Cup clash against Wales. Photo: William West/Getty Images

Australia head coach feels ‘embarassed’ for the game after Kerevi’s fend on Patchell

Japan’s Pieter Labuschagne and Luke Thompson tackle Jack Carty. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty)

Tale of three outhalves quickly becoming Schmidt’s downward spiralling swansong

Japan skipper  Michael Leitch and Fumiaki Tanaka  celebrate the victory over Ireland at the Ecopa stadium in Shizuoka. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Jamie Joseph: ‘We’ve been preparing for this game for a hell of a lot longer than what the Irish have’

 Ireland outhalf  Joey Carbery  looks on as the Japan team celebrate victory at  the final whistle after the Rugby World Cup  Group A game at the Ecopa stadium in  Shizuoka. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ireland outhalf defends decision to kick for touch to secure losing bonus point

Ireland’s Conor Murray stands dejected after the Rugby World Cup Pool A loss to Japan. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey hands out the marks after a humbling night for Joe Schmidt’s side

Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika   with his players before their clash with  Fiji at the Sapporo Dome in Sapporo, Japan. Photograph: Getty Images

Odds stacked against Australia but head coach specialises in moments of crisis

Bundee Aki, Jack Conan and Chris Farrell on their way to Yokohama via Bullet Train. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

If he is ruled out, Ulster’s Jordi Murphy would travel from Belfast to join the squad

Japan lock Luke Thompson has great memories from his time in Ireland in 1999. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

‘There’s a lot less experience without him. Johnny Sexton is a key player’

Rugby fans  arriving at  City of Toyota Stadium ahead of the World Cup match between Wales and Georgia on September 23th. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Flawed human nature is rare in Japan, so it was strange to see how police handled drunken violence

Johnny Sexton during an Irish training session at Yumeria Sports Grounds in Iwata. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Sexton has been unable to train this week, after being hurt against Scotland on Sunday

Japan wing Lomano Lemeki put his head on the block when calling Saturday’s game against Ireland. “I think we’ll win 33-26.” Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

Brave Blossoms’ assistant says hosts’ greatest opportunities will be Irish mistakes

Keeping an injured Sexton on the field, until Ireland secured the bonus point against Scotland, put a spotlight on Murray’s goal-kicking. Photograph: Craig Mercer/Inpho

Kicking coach Murphy admits it’s balancing act to keep flyhalf in action but out of trouble

Johnny Sexton is a doubt for Ireland’s second RWC clash with Japan. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty

Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki both back after passing HIAs following Scotland win

Dan Biggar is tackled by Tamaz Mchedlidze during Wales’ opening win over Georgia. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty

Warren Gatland’s side fly out of the blocks before a second-half battle in Toyota City

 Referee Angus Gardner came under fire from both camps following the game between France and Argentina at  Tokyo Stadium  in Chofu, Japan. Photograph by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The tournament is barely motoring and already refs are being targeted or lambasted

Iain Henderson makes a break against Scotland during the World Cup clash at the  International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan. Photograph: Craig Mercer/Inpho

Incoming Ulster captain’s secondrow partnership with James Ryan looks formidable

Ireland’s CJ Stander makes a break during the Rugby World Cup win over Scotland. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland likely on course to face South Africa in quarter-finals after win over Scotland

France’s  Camille Lopez celebrates following the victory over Argentina in the World Cup clash in Tokyo.  Photograph: Franck Robichon/EPA

Late drop goal seals victory as Pumas fume over referee Gardner’s performance

Irish players celebrate their win after the Rugby World Cup match against Scotland in Yokohama. Photo: Franck Robichon/Getty Images

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over Joe Schmidt’s side after their victory over Scotland

Gael Fickou of France is tackled during the Pool C game between France and Argentina in Tokyo. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Argentina miss last gasp penalty as France remain masters of illusion, and disillusion

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg takes part in a training session at the International Stadium Yokohama in Kanagawa prefecture on Friday.  Photo: Kazuhiro/Getty

Scotland may be an old and manageable foe but danger lurks in Yokohama on Sunday

France’s inside centre Romain Ntamack runs with ball during a training session at the Tokyo stadium ahead of their World Cup opener against Argentina. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP

French head coach Jacques Brunel believes second half will be decisive in close game

Joe Schmidt has named his starting XV for Ireland’s RWC opener against Scotland. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty

Ireland coach gives positive fitness reports on the absent Carbery, Kearney and Earls

Dan Van Zyl  runs the   Rugby Academy Ireland along with fellow South African Johan Taylor. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Kildare-based venture offers aspiring rugby professionals a nine-month residential course

Ireland’s CJ Stander during training ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

South African-born player says he didn’t see much of it during his time in native country

Ireland’s Joey Carbery, Jack Carty and Jack Conan take part in a training session at the Ichihara Suporeka Park ahead of the Rugby World Cup. Photo: Charly Triballeau/Getty Images

The 23-year-old has recovered from a twisted ankle and could cover a number of positions

Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw poses for photos with fans during a training session ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Tsuyoshi Ueda/Kyodo News via AP

Ireland’s opening match opponents believe they have what it takes to go all the way

Ireland’s Andrew Conway speask to Jonathan Sexton during a training session ahead of the opening Rugby World Cup match against Scotland. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Continued doubts over fitness of Rob Kearney and Keith Earls could see them miss out

Rhys Ruddock was born in Dublin during his father Mike’s brief yet memorable Bective season.   Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

S&C coach Ciarán and flanker Rhys add Welsh lilt to Ireland’s World Cup shout

South Africa’s Aphiwe Dyantyi tested positive for steroids on July 2nd. Photo: Dave Winter/Getty Images

Jarring to see 1995 World Cup final on TV before Springboks’ media briefing

Scott Barrett of New Zealand is shown the red card during the 2019 Rugby Championship Test Match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Optus Stadium in Perth on August 10th. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Officials chief say his refs are 100% clear about foul play, and will act to protect players

Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw won’t be fit for the Rugby World Cup opener against Scotland. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Management are keeping quiet on details of injury but Henshaw will miss Scotland clash

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby in Ichihara Suporeku Park, Tokyo. He provided plenty of words on set-piece mechanisms without offering any quotes. Photograph: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Letter from Japan: Home side love their rules but several illogical demands will need to be broken

Japan’s Luke Thompson during the 2015 Rugby World Cup game against the USA at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester, England.  Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Kiwi has proved a remarkable servant for Brave Blossoms and is looking forward to fourth RWC

Robbie Henshaw during the Ireland training session on Saturday where he pulled up with a hamstring injury. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland suffer serious injury blow a week out from World Cup opener against Scotland

Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw could miss Ireland’s game against Scotland. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland centre is believed to have injured his hamstring; Will Addison taken out of Ulster line-up

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen: “I can’t be telling you Irish too much. You are number one in the world. You should be telling us. What do you think? Think it’s a good idea?”

New Zealand coach playing cards close to his chest in quest for ‘threepeat’

Andrew Porter, Josh van der Flier, Chris Farrell, Rory Best, James Ryan and Bundee Aki are presented with their Rugby World Cup caps at the  official welcome ceremony. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

In his first report from Japan, Gavin Cummiskey takes in Ireland’s official welcome ceremony

Ireland are the top ranked team in the world ahead of the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Everyone should ignore this list until November 2nd, it’s ‘a label’, nothing more

 Chester Williams of South Africa  during their 1995 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match against Western Samoa in Johannesburg.  File photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The Offload: Sam Warburton fears a death on TV; Makazole Mapimpi’s ‘RIP Nene’ protest

Ireland’s centre Garry Ringrose is tackled during the Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Wales. Photo: Paul Faith/Getty Images

Garry Ringrose has altered from a definite starter to cover for any number of positions

The Ireland team line up during the anthems ahead of their final Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Wales. Photo: Billy Stickland /Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over Joe Schmidt’s men in farewell before Japan

Johnny Sexton leaves the field injured against France in 2015. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

When it comes to the showpiece of the world game, Ireland’s outhalf remains mired in regret

Robbie Henshaw during training ahead of Ireland’s final World Cup warm-up against Wales. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Meeting Christy Moore, Henry Shefflin and Ruby Walsh benefitted squad, says Ireland centre

Johnny Sexton starts at outhalf for Ireland this weekend. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Andy Farrell says players are ‘raring to go’ for final World Cup warm-up game against Wales

Jean Kleyn got the nod ahead of Devin Toner as a specialist tighthead secondrow. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Coach was very exact in looking for specialists among his 31-man squad for Japan

Kerry’s  Jack Sherwood gets up above  Dublin’s John Small during the All-Ireland Final at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Kerry manager does not buy into talk of a missed opportunity against Dublin

Seán O’Shea  is challenged by Dublin’s Brian Fenton. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over the Kingdom side who held the champions

James Ryan inspired a much improved Ireland performance in Cardiff. Photogrraph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The boys of 2016 must be trusted to help the old guard reach semi-final promised land

Diarmuid Connolly scores his side’s first goal past goalkeeper David Clarke during the 2016 final replay. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s side are on the brink of history but there has been plenty of drama since 2015

Felix Jones: was assistant coach touring Japan with the Ireland squad in 2017. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘He would have a great knowledge of even the language we use in our camp’

Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne compete for a lineout  during an Ireland training session at Carton House on Thursday. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Duo come into Joe Schmidt’s side for trip to Cardiff as Ireland look to brighten the mood

Ireland’s Jack Carty is one of the players jostling for a spot on the plane to Japan. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Ireland coach hoping Will Addison puts ‘his best foot forward on Saturday’

Dublin manager Jim Gavin with selector Declan Darcy. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

‘Doing a Davy Fitz and going mad on the sideline’ not what players need, says Darcy

Ireland captain and hooker Rory Best during a training session  at Carton House this week. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘Rory is an incredibly strong character. He’s leading this week incredibly strongly’

Joe Schmidt looks on during Ireland’s record defeat to England at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Saturday’s daunting trip to Cardiff is likely to see the injury list increase ahead of Japan

Rory Best endured a torrid afternoon at Twickenham. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Faltering lineout at Twickenham points to 37-year-old becoming a serious liability

Rory Best and Conor Murray look on during Ireland’s defeat at Twickenham. Photograph: Dan Shridan/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over the visitors after their humbling in London

 Manu Tuilagi celebrates after England’s 2019 Six Nations Championship Round 1 win over Ireland at the  Aviva Stadium in February. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

With Tuilagi, Vunipola and Underhill on board, no wonder the pundits are worried

Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett lies injured following the incident with Richie Hogan that resulted in the Kilkenny man receiving a  red card. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Tipperary coach believes referee’s need every help from a hurling version of soccer’s VAR

Liam Sheedy: “I couldn’t visualise myself going on this journey without having Eamon by my side and on my shoulder.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Tommy Dunne on the alchemy that makes the Tipp backroom tick

Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett lies injured following the incident with KIlkenny’s Richie Hogan which  resulted in a red card. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

‘To try to take them on with 14 was a bridge too far, definitely, and that’s how it turned out’

Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan walks past manager Brian Cody after being sent off during the All-Ireland SHC final against Tipperary at Croke Park. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over Brian Cody’s beaten All-Ireland SHC finalists

Japan players line up for the national anthem before a Pacific Nations Cup match against the United States on Aug. 10, 2019, in Suva, Fiji. Japan have the best schedule of the tier two nations. Photograph:  Kyodo News via Getty Images

31-man squads a concern while nations like Samoa and USA have drawn the short straw

International Rugby Players association chief executive Omar Hassanein says players were never opposed to the concept of a world league. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Omar Hassanein believes Nations Championship was a missed opportunity for the sport

Ireland’s John Cooney has been cut from the Rugby World Cup training camp squad. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

John Cooney, Finlay Bealham and Mike Haley cut from Ireland squad for Portugal camp

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