It's coming down to the wire ahead of the final round of pool games at the Rugby World Cup.

Life is simple for Ireland, win or draw and go through. After that, though, things get more complicated.

As it stands, Ireland, Scotland and South Africa can all qualify, while each of the teams could also crash out.



7 October: Ireland v Scotland (8pm)

8 October: Tonga v Romania (4.45pm)

The Springboks' win over Tonga on Sunday night has put them in pole position ahead of Ireland's clash with Scotland in Paris next weekend.

It would take the most unlikely of results in that game to send the champions packing.

They currently have 15 points, one ahead of Ireland and five ahead of the Scots.

The task for Andy Farrell’s men, on a 16-match winning run, is simple. Just do what they have been doing for the last 15 months: win and go through.

A straight-up win would do the job but Ireland just need two match points to top the group, which could come via a draw or even from losing by seven or less and scoring four tries in the process.

Either of those, while enough to secure passage to the play-offs, would be a bit of a momentum-killer.

Where it gets more complicated is if Ireland lose and neither team gets a bonus point.

That would leave Ireland and Scotland on 14 points with head-to-head the first criteria in that instance. That outcome would see the Scots and South Africa progress.

Ireland have beaten Scotland in their last eight meetings and the only real worry the Springboks have is if Gregor Townsend’s side upset the odds and beat Ireland by 21 points or more, score four tries in the process and if Ireland get their own bonus point from tries scored.

That would see a three-way tie and come down to points difference to separate the teams in the first instance.

If Scotland made up the points difference with South Africa then the champions would be out as it reverts to the head-to-head criteria, which falls in Ireland's favour.



5 October: New Zealand v Uruguay (8pm)

6 October: France v Italy (8pm)

It is possible the top three teams finish level, which would favour New Zealand to go through on points difference and Italy to advance past France on head-to-head.

Any sort of win for Italy over France should be enough, unless the latter pick up two bonus points (one for losing by seven points and the other for scoring four tries).

The most likely scenario is New Zealand beat Uruguay on Thursday and finish second, with France defeating Italy a day later to top the pool. A draw would also be good enough for the hosts.



7 October: Wales v Georgia (2pm)

8 October: Fiji v Portugal (8pm)

Wales have already qualified for the quarter-finals and will top the pool even in defeat with a bonus point against Georgia.

Fiji need just a point from their clash with Portugal on Sunday to finish second, which will see Australia, who have played all their matches, exit the World Cup in the pool stages for the first time.



7 October: England v Samoa (4.45pm)

8 October: Japan v Argentina (12pm)

England have secured top spot in the pool, leaving a winner-takes-all shootout between Argentina and Japan in Nantes on Sunday for second place.

Argentina have a superior points difference. However, if Japan take a bonus point for four tries scored in a draw, and Argentina do not, they will advance.

Samoa have the slimmest of chances. They must hope for a draw in Nantes, beat England by 29 points or more and gain a bonus point to advance on points difference with all three teams on 11 points.

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Listen to live commentary of Ireland v Scotland on Saturday on RTÉ Radio 1, of follow a live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News app.

Additional reporting: Reuters