Finn Russell Ireland to meet the All Blacks, thrilling Japan put Scotland to the sword

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The All Blacks stand between Ireland and a place in a maiden Rugby World Cup semi-final. Joe Schmidt’s side secured their place in the last-eight with a convincing 47-5win over a poor Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday, running in seven tries in a bonus-point victory. However Japan’s thrilling 28-21 win over Scotland in Yokohama yesterday ensured Ireland progressed as runners-up – and they are now on a collision course with New Zealand.As Gerry Thornley writes: “If this Ireland are to boldly go where no Irish team has ever gone before in a World Cup and reach a first ever semi-final then they will merely have to dethrone the back-to-back world champions New Zealand in Tokyo next Saturday. That’s all.” This will be the fifth meeting between the two sides in the Joe Schmidt era, with the score currently at two wins apiece after Ireland’s famous victories in Chicago and again in Dublin last November. But their hopes of reaching the last four arehampered by the potential absence of Bundee Aki, who was sent off during Saturday

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