Samoa are out but they are not down so far that they can't give Ireland another scare. 

They came into the World Cup after a turbulent year in which they appointed their third coach in as many years.

Former New Zealand Maori Steve Jackson took over from Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua, who had brought Samoa to the finals courtesy of a win over Germany in a play-off.

Controversy over Tafua's hiring led to World Rugby threatening to pull funding and the case ended up in court. All very unhelpful.

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Add to that the team have played just six games against Tier 1 countries in this World Cup cycle and you have an idea of where they are at.

Their 34-9 win over Russia was just Jackson’s third win as boss, but the defeats to Scotland (34-0) and Japan (38-19) have ended their qualification hopes.

Joe Schmidt can compare some of the tournament stats and they'll make for largely positive reading.

Ireland are better in ball-carries (413-313), metres made (1242-1114), line-breaks (28-17), and penalties conceded (22-33).

However, Samoa, ranked 15th in the world, have the edge in offloads (36-25) and turnovers conceded (42-49). 

What Schmidt can’t measure, and it proved true for the loss against Japan, is the passion they will bring.

"Samoa are hurting big time," Henry Bryce, the former Samoan 7s player now living and working in Ireland, tells RTÉ Sport. 

"They are going to give everything for this last game, they are going to throw everything in.

"This is the last throw of the dice to pick themselves up and be remembered in this World Cup.

"This could be the last time for some of them and they need to bring the pride back into the team because that is what we were famous for back in the day.

"[They'll want] to put their stamp on the World Cup, it will be all or nothing against Ireland."

Manu are further hindered by a trio of England-based players opting out in order to concentrate on their clubs.

Jordan Taufua (Leicester), Michael Fatialofa and Melani Nanai (both Worcester) both declined to join the cause. 

It's a decision that Bryce, now a coach and standby player with Balbriggan, understands.

Having represented his country for three years he relocated to Ireland and counts Naas, Clontarf, Bective, Old Belvedere and Suttonians among his former clubs. 

Bryce in action against New Zealand at the Wellington IRB Sevens in 2006

"At the end of the day you've got to look after your family," says the 38-year-old, who moved to Ireland 13 years ago. 

"Most of the Samoan players at the World Cup have forked out of their own pocket to pay for their airfare to go over there and that’s how much they take pride in the country and they have sacrificed [family time] to put the country first.

"Some of the guys have families to look after and I’m not [saying one decision is correct]."

There are reports that the wages for the recent Pacific Nations Cup, where they lost to USA and Fiji but beat Tonga, worked out at around €56 per day and it goes to show where the fundamental issue lies when a traditional country like Samoa, formerly Western Samoa, tries to close the gap. 

"The biggest problem in Samoa is funds," adds Bryce, who runs a PlayBall franchise in Co Kildare.

"If we had the same as the Tier 1 nations we could have the same preparation, six months leading into the World Cup whereas they only had two months to gel these guys together. 

"It's not enough time for these guys to come together."

And if things weren't hard enough off the pitch World Rugby, rightly, only went and clamped down on one aspect of the game that traditionally went in the Samoans favour. 

Samoa, unfortunately, top the indiscipline stats and have four yellows and one red to their name. 

A couple of high-profile high tackles made the headlines when two players, Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu'u, were cited after incidents against Russia and received three-match bans.

"It's the nature of the Samoans," says Bryce. 

"We tend to bring that physicality and that aggression when we go to make a hit or even a ball-carry.

"We’ve got to make sure that person on the other side feels the effect after the run or the tackle.

"But now they have to be mindful of the new rule and to keep that tackle low. We are so into our hits and carries that we are not looking after that side of the law."

That's another item of concern for Ireland, who know a win will be enough to qualify for the quarter-finals but they could do with a clean bill of health too. 

"We have nothing to lose now," Dwanye Polataivao, the Samoa scrum-half, told reporters after the loss to Japan. 

Beware a team with nothing to lose.  


Centre Henry Taefu scored all of Samoa's points against Japan, including their late try. The 26-year-old Western Force player has represented Australia at U20s level and is playing in his first World Cup. 

Coach: Steve Jackson

Captain: Jack Lam

Forwards: Afaesetiti Amosa, TJ Ioane, Jack Lam (capt), Piula Fa'asalele, Josh Tyrell, Chris Vui, Teofilo Paulo, Kane Leaupepe, Senio Toleafoa, Michael Alaalatoa, Paul Alo-Emile, James Lay, Jordan Lay, Logovi’i Mulipola, Motu Matu’u, Ray Niuia, Seilala Lam

Backs: Ed Fidow, Tim Nanai-Williams, Ahsee Tuala, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Henry Taefu, Alapati Leiua, Reynold Lee-Lo, Kieron Fonotia, AJ Atatimu, Tusi Pisi, Ulupano Seuteni, Dwayne Polotaivao, Melani Matavao, Scott Malolua

Follow Ireland v Samoa on Saturday 12 October (kick-off 11.45am) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, watch live on RTÉ2 or listen to live match commentary on RTÉ 2fm.