Rugby Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland overcome Bundee Aki red card to secure quarter-final place

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Ireland secured a quarter-final showdown with either champions New Zealand or South Africa with a bonus-point win against Samoa, despite playing the majority of the game with 14 men.

Bundee Aki was sent off against the country of his heritage for a high tackle to the head of fly-half Ulupano Seuteni in the 29th minute.

But the loss of the centre did not knock Ireland off their stride, as they ran in seven tries against a defensively suspect Samoa.

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With Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton starting together for the 55th time, equalling the Ireland record set by Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara, the stage was set for a big evening for the half backs. And it was Sexton – a player around whom this Irish team increasingly gravitates – who came to the fore.

The fly-half scored two first-half tries, including the bonus-point sealing score, and collected am 18-point haul.

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The stiff gusts that at times swept across Hakatanomori Stadium were a reminder of the far harsher weather that Typhoon Hagibis was bringing further north east. And Ireland aimed to exploit the conditions with a strategy of relentless kicking in the opening minutes.

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