With a bonus point win over Samoa, Ireland secured a quarter-final showdown with champions New Zealand or South Africa, although they played most of the game with 14 men.
Bundee Aki was sent off against the country of his legacy in the 29th minute due to a duel against the head of the flying half Ulupano Seuteni.
But the loss of the center did not get Ireland out of control when they faced seven suspected Samoa defenders in seven attempts.
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With Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton starting together for the 55th time, reaching the Irish record set by Peter Stringer and Ronan O & # 39; Gara, the stage was set for a big evening for half of the fans. And it was Sexton – a player around which this Irish team is turning more and more – that came to the fore.
The half-fly scored two attempts in the first half, including the bonus point seal, and collected 18 points.
The stiff gusts sweeping across the Hakatanomori Stadium at times reminded one of the far tougher weather that typhoon Hagibis brought further northeast. And Ireland wanted to exploit the conditions with a strategy of relentless kicking in the first few minutes.
Samoa sang in the dressing rooms after their last practice session before this match. However, in the fourth minute, their performance failed, as the Samoa pack was rearmed with ominous ease through a line-up that ended Rory Best.
The Pacific Islanders then lost the hooker Seilala Lam against Jacob Stockdale. Tadhg Furlong then rolled over the try-line – but not before he delivered a small show-and-go, which usually does not belong to the tighthead's repertoire.
When Sexton finished in third place in Ireland, it looked like Samoa was not only in trouble, but already dead and buried. Ireland won by 31 points the last time six years ago, and for a moment this seemed like a cautious estimate of the game's profit margin.
Samoan skipper Jack Lam, however, had other ideas.
Then came Aki's release. There was general sympathy for the center. The occasion was of particular importance to Aki, who played against the land of his ancestors. And after appearing against Russia, where the ball seemed to be the proverbial bar of soap, he had foamed the Samoan midfield with a series of powerful transfers through midfield.
Ireland's numerical disadvantage did not materialize and Sexton prevailed at half-time, giving Ireland a 26-5 lead during the break.
Jordan Larmour scored Ireland's fifth attempt to the right in the 50th minute and Sexton kicked the equalizer and left the field after completing the game.
Samoa's TJ Ioane saw the yellow card as Samoa, under pressure to defend itself in its own half, sank to its knees. CJ Stander and Andrew Conway added the shine for Ireland.
Ireland was patchy in places. Her kicking game sometimes went awry, as did her handling, and her scrum took too long to shoot.
Joe Schmidt's eyes are now on the Greater Tokyo area, where Hagibi's destruction is causing.
If the game between Japan and Scotland in Yokohama is canceled, Japan will receive two points and be at the top. That would mean a quarter-final for the host country against South Africa while the New Zealand champion would wait for Schmidt's team.