Joe Schmidt says that England and New Zealand have an advantage ahead of the quarter-finals after their final pool games were cancelled due to Typhhon Hagibis.
Speaking at a media conference after naming his team to face Samoa on Saturday, the Ireland coach emphasised the fact that his side are solely focussed on their last Pool A match and not concerned about the possibility of the pool decider between Japan and Scotland being cancelled.
Should the Irish win with a bonus point on Saturday, they will advance to the knockouts. However, if Samoa cause an upset or Ireland fail to score four tries, the result of the game between the hosts and the Scots will determine Ireland’s fate.
‘We can’t control what happens with the Japan-Scotland game, so on Saturday it’s up to us to get our business done as best we can,’ said Schmidt.
Schmidt said that he had read Eddie Jones’ comments about the weather gods being kind to the English, and believed that a longer period to prepare for their respective quarter-finals will benefit England and the All Blacks.
‘I think when you’ve had a long lead-in like we’ve had and we’ve had some games concentrated together quite closely, I think it’s always an advantage to get a longer lead-in,’ continued Schmidt.
‘I think it would be the opinion of any coach that you ask. I did read a little bit on Eddie Jones. He looked fairly disappointed that he was going to head off on a mini-camp and do some really good training on the Saturday and have a few beers.
‘So while they’re doing that we’ll be rolling our sleeves up trying to combat a Samoa side that has heaps of talent and will be inevitably physical because that’s how they play the game and that’s how the game tends to be played at the top level.’
Should the Japan-Scotland game go ahead and the hosts win, they will top Pool A and face the Springboks in the last quarter-final, while the runners-up will face the All Blacks.
Photo: EPA/Dave Hunt