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The Ireland Scotland scoreline that'd knock South Africa out of World Cup

By Ian Cameron
Faf de Klerk of South Africa looks dejected after defeat to Ireland during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Ireland at Stade de France on September 23, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The permutations of Pool B of the Rugby World Cup have been a major discussion point, with all three of Ireland, South Africa and Scotland still in the race to make the quarter-finals with the final weekend of pool matches approaching.

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South Africa beat Tonga 49-18 last night in Marseille, their final game of the pool stages, but contrary to what some fans think, the Springboks’ fate still lies in the hands of Scotland and Ireland, who both obviously have a game in hand.

While the Boks currently occupy top spot in Pool B with 15 points, Ireland need just one point to draw even with the reigning champs, while Scotland need a bonus win to arrive on 15 points.

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WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explains why his team is not yet guaranteed a place in the World Cup quarterfinals

Video Spacer

WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explains why his team is not yet guaranteed a place in the World Cup quarterfinals

What Ireland need
Ireland needs to avoid defeat to Scotland to guarantee qualification as the pool winners. A draw would take them to 16, while a four-point win would take them to 18 and a try bonus point win would take them to 19. A losing bonus point would also almost certainly be enough to bag Ireland a quarter-final spot. However, a losing bonus while denying Scotland a 4-try bonus point would be enough. More on that in a minute.

What Scotland need
Scotland needs to beat Ireland and deny Ireland a bonus point, to knock Andy Farrell’s side out of the tournament outright, as if both are on 14, the Scots win on head to head regardless of points difference, with the Boks going through as group winners on 15. Scotland will be desperate to deny Ireland a losing bonus point.

All tied on fifteen
Things get interesting if all teams end up with fifteen points on the standings.

If all three teams are tied at the end of pool stages, the team with the best points difference goes through. Teams placed second and third then come down to their head-to-head, or in the case of a draw between both sides, it goes back to points difference.

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Going into the weekend Ireland are on +122, the Boks have +117 points, while the Scots have +97.

Rugby World Cup

Pool A
P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
France
3
3
0
0
13
2
New Zealand
3
2
1
0
10
3
Italy
3
2
1
0
10
4
Uruguay
3
1
2
0
5
5
Namibia
4
0
4
0
0
Pool B
P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
South Africa
4
3
1
0
15
2
Ireland
3
3
0
0
14
3
Scotland
3
2
1
0
10
4
Tonga
3
0
3
0
0
5
Romania
3
0
3
0
0
Pool C
P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
Wales
3
3
0
0
14
2
Australia
4
2
2
0
11
3
Fiji
3
2
1
0
10
4
Georgia
3
0
2
1
3
5
Portugal
3
0
2
1
2
Pool D
P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
England
3
3
0
0
14
2
Argentina
3
2
1
0
9
3
Japan
3
2
1
0
9
4
Samoa
3
1
2
0
6
5
Chile
4
0
4
0
0

What the Springboks want
The ideal South African scenario is Scotland beating Ireland and denying Andy Farrell’s men a losing bonus point, as it would see the Boks go through as group winners. If Ireland lost to Scotland by seven points or less and the Scots don’t get a bonus point, the Springboks would go through as pool runners up, with Ireland going through as pool winners on head to heads. If Ireland avoids defeat, South Africa also goes through to the quarters as pool runners-up.

What the Springboks don’t want
The nightmare scoreline for South Africa goes like this: if Scotland beat Ireland by 21 points or more with a four-try bonus and Ireland get a four-try bonus point in defeat, then South Africa will be knocked out of the Rugby World Cup. Scotland would go through as pool winners, while due to their head-to-head loss with Ireland and a points difference lower than Scotland, the Boks would be eliminated.

According to the match-fixing conspiracy theories doing the rounds on the internet,  Ireland and Scotland could agree to this result, as it’s the one scenario that would see them both qualify. What’s in it for Ireland? They guarantee that they won’t have to face the Springboks again at the tournament.

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This makes very little sense, as it would see Ireland playing France, likely led by Dupont, in the quarter-finals.

What is clear is that Pool B – aka the Pool of Death – has lived up to its billing and fans of all three teams will be left to chew their nails going into the final weekend of matches.

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Red and White Dynamight 3 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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