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World Cup quarterfinal scenarios: The Ireland vs Scotland result that would send home South Africa

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2nd October, 2023
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Australia are heading on by a thread and most Wallabies fans will be painfully aware of the equation needed for them to scrape into the quarterfinals.

Portugal needs to beat Fiji by eight points or more and Fiji must score fewer than four tries. Or in other words, Fiji needs on points from the final game of the round to send the Aussies home.

That path, and every other in the four groups is detailed here, with only two teams of the eight quarterfinalists locked in – England and Wales.

Also up for grabs in the final round is automatic qualification for the next tournament in Australia in 2027 for teams finishing in third or above in the pools.

How ties are decided: In the event that two teams finish equal on points the tiebreaker is head-to-head result. If they drew then overall points differential is used. In the event of a tie involving three or more teams points differential is used to decide the first placing of the three. The second and third places come down to head to head.

Pool A

Hosts France will top pool A should they avoid defeat against Italy in Lyon on Friday, having beaten the other pool heavyweight New Zealand on the opening night of the tournament. A win would take them to 17 points (or 18 with a bonus point).

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A draw would take them to 15 points – the most the All Blacks can secure with a bonus point win over Uruguay.

Two losing bonus points would also be enough for France to top Pool A providing Italy do not get a try-bonus point in victory and move to 15 points to France’s 14.

Uruguay must beat New Zealand with a try-bonus point, and by at least 80 points, and will need France to defeat Italy in order to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Uruguay must beat New Zealand with a try-bonus point, prevent the All Blacks from taking any bonus point and hope Italy get something out of their game with France to finish third on the head-to-head rule with New Zealand to secure qualification for RWC 2027.

A point will confirm Italy’s qualification for RWC 2027.

Namibia have zero points and are out of contention for the quarters and the direct 2027 qualification.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: Ethan de Groot of New Zealand looks dejected following the team's defeat in the the Summer International match between New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on August 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Pool B


Tonga and Romania are out of the running for the quarterfinals and for automatic qualification with each on zero points ahead of their final match against each other.

Both quarter-final places are still to be decided with the other three teams – Ireland, South Africa and Scotland all a chance of progressing or missing out.

Scotland must beat Ireland and deny the Irish a bonus point to finish second above the Irish on the head-to-head rule with South Africa, who have played their four games already and on 15 points, topping the pool.

If Ireland get a bonus point and Scotland do not, Ireland will top the pool on the head-to-head rule from South Africa.

A Scotland bonus-point win without Ireland getting any points would see them qualify in second place behind South Africa.

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If Scotland win and both teams get a bonus point, then they join South Africa on 15 points and points difference will determine top spot in Pool B.

Siya Kolisi, the South Africa captain, Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Max and Frans Malherbe sing their national anthem during the Summer International match between New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on August 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Scotland would need to win by 21 points or more to claim top spot ahead of South Africa (current points differential – South Africa +117, Ireland +122 and Scotland +97).

Ireland would then qualify as runners-up on the head-to-head rule, having beaten South Africa. If Scotland do not win by such a margin, then South Africa will finish top on points difference and Scotland second on the head-to-head rule.

There is also scope for a bizarre end to the match that would see Ireland attempting to concede a try to advance.

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Meanwhile, Ireland will finish top with two or more points from their match against Scotland.

Pool C

Wales are qualified, while Fiji are in the box seat and Australia are still a chance. Both teams have secured qualification for 2027.

Wales need one point against Georgia to guarantee top spot. Fiji require one point to confirm second place on head-to-head rule thanks to having beaten Australia, who advance in second if Fiji get no points.


Pool D

Steve Borthwick’s England are the only guaranteed pool winner.

The other quarterfinal place is up for grabs between Argentina and Japan -either of which will advance with a win – and Samoa, who must hope for a miracle even beyond Australia’s in pool C.

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Samoa need a draw between Argentina and Japan – with no try bonus points -and beat England by 29 points or more.

If both Japan and Argentina get try-scoring bonus points in a draw, Argentina will finish second on points difference (+46 to +18).

If the match ends in a draw, Japan must be the only team to get a try-scoring bonus point to finish second.

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