'We need to scale new heights' - Ireland skipper Rory Best

Ireland
Ireland will face New Zealand or South Africa in the quarter-finals

Ireland captain Rory Best says his team will have to take their game to a new level if they are to progress beyond next week's World Cup quarter-finals.

Ireland currently sit first in Pool A, but will drop to second if Japan take two points from Sunday's weather-threatened game against Scotland.

Second would see Ireland face New Zealand, while topping the group would set up a meeting with South Africa.

"We are going to have to produce some of our best rugby," said Best.

"New Zealand and South Africa are two world-class teams and we know we are going to have to be better again than we were tonight," said Best after Saturday's 47-5 win over Samoa.

After a defeat by Japan and an uninspiring win over Russia, Ireland raised their performance levels to outclass Samoa despite playing 50 minutes with 14 men following Bundee Aki's red card.

With the final order of Pool A out of their hands, Ireland will hope that Scotland can beat Japan in Yokohama should the game go ahead amid concerns caused by Typhoon Hagibis, and deny the hosts two bonus-points.

Rory Best scored one of Ireland's seven tries against Samoa
Skipper Best scored one of Ireland's seven tries against Samoa

That outcome would see Ireland meet the Springboks in Tokyo on Sunday, with the All Blacks awaiting the runners-up at the same venue a day earlier.

"Unfortunately with the performance against Japan a couple of weeks ago we kind of lost control of that," Best said.

"An extra day is always nicer but it's when you're starting to go into six and five day turnarounds that's when things become complicated.

"A seven-day turnaround is something we're used to in the Six Nations."

Clean bill of health

In contrast to four years ago, when the final group game against France ended the tournament of some of Ireland's key figures including then-captain Paul O'Connell, Johnny Sexton and Sean O'Brien, the Irish are likely to be at full-strength having got through the match in Fukuoka unscathed.

The only potential absence could be Aki, who is in line for a suspension following his straight red for a tackle to the head of Ulupano Seuteni.

Ireland have yet to progress beyond the last eight of a Rugby World Cup, and will likely require their finest performance of the year if they are to break new ground at this tournament.

If they were to face the two-time reigning champions New Zealand, a display reminiscent of the one that saw Ireland topple the All Blacks in Dublin last November would be required to overcome the competition favourites.

"The All Blacks are a sort of team that you could play at your best and still not get the result," admitted Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.

"For us it would be to a degree a mountain to climb.

"If it is the All Blacks then we will look to scale those heights."

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