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Rassie Erasmus restarts mind games with Ireland ahead of crunch Scotland clash



Rassie Erasmus has revealed he has done the maths on Scotland potentially knocking Ireland out of the Rugby World Cup in this weekend’s final Pool B encounter.

Andy Farrell’s side head into the Stade De France clash with Gregor Townsend’s men aiming to make it four successive wins from the pool, the most recent of which came against the Erasmus-masterminded Springboks.

South Africa now sit top of Pool B after their 49-18 victory over Tonga saw them ensure their quarter-final qualification with 15 points.

Johnny Sexton of Ireland, right, is substituted for Jack Crowley during the 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Ireland at Stade de France in Paris, France. Pic: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland have collected 14 points in their three fixtures to date and will be hoping to add to that tally in commanding fashion when they face up to Scotland.

However, with two wins and a draw on the board for Scotland, the Six Nations outfit are still in with a shout of qualifying out of the pool themselves and could do so if they defeat Ireland.

South AFrica
Jamie Ritchie of Scotland and Pieter-Steph Du Toit of South Africa compete for a lineout during the Rugby World Cup 2023 match between South Africa and Scotland at Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Pic: Paul Harding/Getty Images

With South Africa’s job more or less done, it is over to Ireland now – and Erasmus teased in typical fashion that Scotland could yet dump the world number one side out.

Speaking at a Rugby World Cup press conference, he said: ‘Basically, as I understand it, if Scotland beat Ireland by more than eight points and Ireland don’t get a bonus point then Ireland is out. We would be first, Scotland second and Ireland out. If Scotland beat Ireland 8-0, Ireland are out.

Jamie Ritchie of Scotland is tackled by Jesse Kriel of South Africa during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Scotland at Stade Velodrome. Pic: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

‘That’s how I see it. I was thinking about that a lot last night – if I was Ireland I’d definitely make sure they beat them…

‘With full humbleness, and there is no arrogance saying this, but I’d rather sit here than be Ireland knowing that we’ve been number one in the world all the time and Scotland basically just have to beat them by eight points and they are out of the tournament.

Rassie Erasmus
Rassie Erasmus coach of South Africa waits for the start of the Rugby Championship test match between New Zealand and South Africa played at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on July 15, 2023. Pic: MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP

‘The score could be 22-12 or 22-13 and Ireland are out of the competition if they don’t get a bonus point. Of the three teams we are probably the most comfortable sitting here knowing we have got a two week rest.

‘Look, maybe we have got six months rest if the cards don’t fall our way.

‘We have got two weeks off where we can analyse all three teams that we can possibly play. I always thought the Ireland-Scotland game was going to be nervy.’

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