The pool stages of the Rugby World Cup end this week and the standout clash will be the world’s No.1-ranked Ireland facing Scotland as they both attempt to secure passage into the quarter-finals.

Ireland have been faultless so far and won a bruising encounter with world champions South Africa a fortnight ago. Many have Andy Farrell’s side already with one foot in the last eight but a strong Scotland attacking unit will pose a different sort of test compared to the Springboks.

Scotland know they have to win this 142nd edition of this fixture on Sat Oct 7th, 20.00 UK-time, and do so in convincing style – or they are going home.

These two Six Nations rivals could, in theory, both advance to the quarters but that would need a Scottish win by 21 points or more, alongside an Irish losing bonus point (four tries) and that looks improbable.

Ireland vs Scotland Tips

  • Ireland -15.5 @ 5/4
  • Jonathan Sexton Anytime Tryscorer @ 3/1

Team News

Robbie Henshaw has been ruled out through injury, while Dan Sheehan and Iain Henderson start for Andy Farrell’s side. Henderson gets in ahead of James Ryan in the second row, with the Leinster player starting on the bench.

Jack Conan is on the Irish bench as the Lions number 8 looks to enter the tournament for the first time. Henderson and Sheehan’s inclusion mean there are just two changes to the team that beat South Africa.

The back row remains unchanged with Peter O’Mahony set to win his 100th Ireland cap on the flank. The Munster skipper will be alongside Josh van der Flier and number 8 Caelan Doris.

Johnny Sexton is at outhalf with Jamison Gibson-Park linking up alongside and Bundee Aki – after successive Man of the Match efforts – partners Garry Ringrose in midfield.

Ali Price has been chosen ahead of Ben White at scrum-half as one of 12 Scotland changes made for the decisive final Pool B match.

Gregor Townsend allowed his fringe men to shine in last week’s 84-0 thrashing of Romania and has unsurprisingly defaulted now.

Grant Gilchrist and winger Darcy Graham, who scored four tries, start again at the Stade de France, with Price the only other survivor.

Full-back Blair Kinghorn returns to earn his 50th cap, while Captain Jamie Ritchie returns after going off with concussion in the first half of the Tonga match a fortnight ago.

Ireland -15.5 @ 5/4

This will be a third RWC meeting between Ireland and Scotland and it’s one win apiece so far. Scotland took the first clash 24-15 in 1991 while Ireland beat the Scots 27-3 in Yokohama in 2019.

The Irish have won a staggering 16 Test matches on the bounce coming into this. They have also won their last eight against the Scots going back to the 2017 Six Nations.

Ahead of this tussle, Blair Kinghorn suggested: “They have been on a good run of form recently, but we’ll end that on Saturday.”

Strong words, but Scotland have a high tariff job on to back those up. Just beating this Ireland side is going to be tough, they are 1/5 favourites to collect the win, and the Scots know they need clear daylight to make the last eight.

Both sides have endured difficulties with their lineout in this tournament already, something they will want remedied for this make or break showdown.

It will be frantic in the early exchanges in Paris as Scotland look to make a statement. It could be free-scoring but Ireland’s bench is much the stronger and could tell in the second half.

Expect Ireland to chip away at the scoreboard as the game wears on and, ultimately, quench the hopes of a Scotland side that were listless in the opening 18-3 loss against the Boks in Marseille.

Jonathan Sexton Anytime Tryscorer @ 3/1

Ireland’s skipper, talisman and orchestrator in chief, Sexton has already nailed three tries in this World Cup and became the all-time leading pointscorer for the men in green along the way, overtaking Ronan O’Gara.

He scored a double against Romania in the opening game and also crossed over against Tonga before that hugely attritional contest with South Africa.

Scotland’s strengths lie in attack and that, coupled with a need for a win by at least eight points, is going to force Gregor Townsend’s side to perhaps play with a fast and loose style.

Sexton is a master of manipulation when opponents are under pressure and perhaps taking more risks than they are ultimately comfortable with.

This could be relatively high-scoring and Sexton is taken to get his fourth try of the tournament.

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