This weekend sees the final round of pool matches at the Rugby World Cup, and all eyes will be on Paris on Saturday evening when Ireland take on Scotland in Pool B.
A win for Ireland would see them top the group and book a quarter-final clash with New Zealand, while even a win for Scotland may not be enough to see them through to the last eight.
With various permutations possible, including Ireland and Scotland qualifying at South Africa’s expense, Saturday’s match is a must-watch.
Ireland are in pole position heading into this clash, having already defeated Romania, Tonga, and South Africa to top the pool after three rounds of matches.
Their victory over the reigning World Cup holders, South Africa, was particularly impressive, edging out the Springboks 13-8 at the Stade de France.
Having won the Six Nations this year and landed the Grand Slam, Ireland have been many people’s fancies to win the Rugby World Cup.
However, they have never made it past the quarter-final stages of the tournament before, so they still have much to prove with history against them.
Scotland are looking to pull off somewhat of a shock against their neighbours as they look to navigate a passage out of Pool B – which has been dubbed the group of death.
A disappointing loss to South Africa in their opening match has been followed up with bonus point victories over Tonga and Romania.
Gregor Townsend’s side now must secure a sizeable victory over Ireland to leapfrog them in the standings and secure a shock quarter-final slot.
With three of the top five sides in the world pitched in together Pool B, Scotland will be disappointed if they exit the tournament at the pool stages, especially when comparing the line-ups in Pools C and D.
Scotland do have the technical ability to trouble Ireland, and they head into this clash as underdogs at the bookmakers – a position they always relish.
Ireland are firm favourites, but it’s a tag that can weigh heavily on some teams, particularly with so much at stake and although confidence is high in the Irish camp and amongst their supporters, a strong performance will be needed.
There is every chance this could be a cagey encounter in Paris on Saturday evening, and an argument can be made for each side to land the victory.
However, with little pressure on them, Scotland could be the betting value in this one as they look to sink Irish Rugby World Cup dreams.