The Rugby World Cup quarter-finalists will be decided this weekend after the last round of pool games.

Ireland will take on Scotland in what was commonly known as the 'group of death' in Pool B.

The permutations involved with the three top teams all fighting for first and second place, along with avoiding being dumped out of the competition altogether confirms just how difficult this pool was.

Ireland have nearly achieved the maximum points on offer so far, and when you reflect on how big a challenge it was to get the win against South Africa, you could consider their tally to be the realistic maximum.

A bonus-point win against Tonga and Romania, setting themselves up with the most advantageous points difference and a win against the Springboks is as much as anyone would ask for.

And yet, there’s a chance that Ireland won't even go through if they don’t look after their business on Saturday evening.

All the talk is about whether Andy Farrell’s side would be best suited to play against France or New Zealand in the quarter-final, and both history and the stats against Scotland would allow you to get carried away with that style of thinking.

However, the Dark Blues are a very good side, dangerous in many areas of their game and funnily enough, they aren’t any bit afraid of what the Six Nations champions bring to the table.

The Scottish expectation is optimistically high based on their ability, but not really based on the evidence of past performances against Ireland.

They have rocked most teams in fits and starts, but getting the all-important win against teams ranked higher than them is almost the same as Ireland’s quarter-final fate of the past.

Scotland haven’t done it when it mattered most, but that time is approaching and hopefully for Ireland, that time won’t be this weekend.

The permutations are lengthy and confusing, unless Ireland take care of things themselves.

Any draw or win for Ireland will put the whole debacle to bed. Anything less than that will be unacceptable for this Farrell-led group of high-performers anyway.

Should the unthinkable happen, and Ireland lose their way this weekend, it’s important for the right decision makers to have some handle on what Ireland need to do to qualify in first or second place.

The coach should have a very good idea of the potential outcomes, but even with score differences and head-to-head battles coming into play, this should be a shorter list of focused outcomes.

At the end of the day, the team should be set up to win and put on a dominant performance that will fittingly bring them into the cauldron of either quarter-final.

The players don’t need to know much more than a draw or a win will mean that they would top the group. The decision-makers within that team should have slightly more detail.

Those involved in the decisions around penalties on the pitch, the likes of Johnny Sexton, James Ryan and Peter O’ Mahony should have a good grip on the permutations more than the wider squad.

You could add Iain Henderson into that list as well because there’s a high likelihood of the Irish main decision-makers being subbed at a time of an important on-field decision.

When Jack Crowley (above) kicked the last penalty against South Africa, Ryan, O’ Mahony and Sexton were all on the sideline.

There should also be someone slightly detached from the group that has an extensive breakdown on every potential outcome, who can then feed in relevant information, should it come to pass.

For the main group of players and coaches, too much information on the potential outcomes could become a distraction of background noise.

Ireland will have enough of a job on their hands if they are to soften the cough of their Scottish counterparts.

Gregor Townsend’s men pose threats in different parts of the pitch.

Their scrum can be dominant with Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson pinning either side of the front row.

We saw that disrupting the Irish set-piece can interrupt the flow of their game and scrum penalties would certainly give Scotland a foothold in the game.

Scotland's Rory Darge in action against South Africa

Their back row options give the Scots a real chance of going after the Irish breakdown, which we know is so crucial to their fast-flowing and high-scoring game.

South Africa forced Ireland to play from almost-five-second rucks, which resulted in a mere 13 points for Mike Catt’s Irish attack.

Scotland will look to emulate that through their own breakdown specialists.

On the other side of the ball, Scotland will look for Finn Russell’s range of passing and kick varieties to keep Ireland guessing and on the back foot.

The centre partnership of Huw Jones and Sione Tuipulotu have caused ferocious trouble in the past.

When Ireland played in Murrayfield last March, it was Scotland that scored the first try, despite the visitors’ early dominance. Tuipulotu gave the assist pass to Jones who scored under the posts.

Ireland will know the threat that the Scottish partnership poses, but if you focus too heavily on them, Scotland have Duhan van rer Merve, Kyle Steyn and Darcy Graham all vying for two spots on the wing.

Ireland were 22-7 winners when the sides last met

Ranked five in the world, they are dangerous all across the backline if they get parity in the pack and a strategy that can disrupt the favourites.

In the last meeting between these sides, it was 8-7 until the 59th minute.

Ireland didn’t find much separation until the final quarter of the game. Despite the Irish injuries that day, they will know that they need to be full throttle to set up a quarter-final for the following weekend.

Murmurs of rotation and substitutions are premature.

Ireland will need to risk some sore bodies to ensure that they keep progressing in this tournament. I expect Farrell to go with a full selection in this one, and when you read through the different potential outcomes, you would too.

Jack Conan will probably come back on to the bench with meaningful minutes essential for his participation in the knock-out part of the tournament.

Any rested bodies will come from early substitutions, but Ireland will need to blow Scotland away early on for that to happen.

It’s all set up for a nervous and exciting finish to Pool B.

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