RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Saturday September 19, 11.30pm
Ireland have made tremendous strides under Joe Schmidt, winning 18 out 24 matches so far in his tenure, and come into the tournament with a great chance of reaching their first ever World Cup semi-final. Having won the Six Nations both this year and last, the Irish will be confident of topping a pool that contains both Italy and France. Ireland are unbeaten against both under Schmidt.
Canada made the quarter-finals back in 1991 but more recently have picked up just two wins from their last 12 World Cup matches. The two sides have met three times since the 2007 World Cup and Ireland have triumphed on all three occasions although they beat the -37.5 handicap just once – a 55-0 victory at Lansdown Road in 2008. However, the latest two meetings took place during the Lions Tours of 2009 and 2013 meaning they fielded heavily weakened sides. In the second of those victories (under Schmidt) Ireland still won by 36 points. This is unlikely to be the same scenario given that Ireland will want to make a strong start and will have the option to rest players in the next game against Romania before taking on Italy and France.
Ireland are six from six against minnows at World Cups since 1999 with an average winning margin of 32 points. It is worth bearing in mind that this includes poor performances during their disastrous 2007 campaign where they failed to qualify from the pool and were only able to beat Namibia 32-17 and Georgia 14-10. They seem to be in much better shape under Schmidt and thrashed Georgia 49-7 last November.
Canada, on the other hand, arrive desperately short of form with just two wins in 14 matches since November 2014. Their record in the last three World Cups against the top-two finishers in the pool will hardly boost their confidence given they have lost by an average score of 12-52 in the fixtures.
- Ireland have won 18/24 under Joe Schmidt
- Ireland are 6/6 vs minnows at World Cups since 1999 with an average winning margin of 32 points. They have won by more than 38 points on two occasions.
- Ireland and Canada have faced each other three times since to 2007 World Cup. Ireland have won all three with an average winning margin of 33 points.
- Canada have lost 12 of 14 matches since Nov 2013
- Canada have won two of their last 12 group games