The midweek melee of action from the Rugby World Cup continues on Thursday, with Ireland bidding to reverse the trend and bounce back from a shock defeat to Japan at the weekend.
Joe Schmidt’s Emerald Isle take on Russia in Pool A, while Georgia, who still hold a small chance of progression, will face a Fiji side who promised much, but have failed to deliver to date.
Georgia v Fiji
Hanazono Rugby Stadium – Pool D
Thursday’s opening encounter see third-placed Georgia take on Fiji in Pool D, but the former will have to rely on an upset – either from themselves or counterparts – to overtake Australia or Pool leaders Wales.
Georgia moved up in the Pool standings after an impressive 33-7 victory over Uruguay, while Fiji are yet to find a win after defeats to Uruguay and Australia in their opening fixtures.
Fiji, despite their losses, will continue with an expansive brand of rugby, but Georgia’s physicality and desire to stay in the quarter-final hunt – for now at least, will likely win the day.
Matches odds with Coral: Georgia 12/5 Draw 25/1 Fiji 3/10
Ben’s Prediction: Georgia win by 15 points
Ireland v Russia
Kobe Misaki Stadium – Pool A
Ireland fell victim of a Rugby World Cup shock on Saturday losing to hosts Japan, but are presented with the ideal opportunity to bounce back with a run-out against Russia on Thursday.
Russia have twice been defeated – firstly by Japan and then by Samoa last week – and will pose little threat to Ireland, but the home nation will be expected to gain a bonus-point win to regain control of Pool A and put the pressure back on the tournament hosts to keep pace.
Schmidt will enter Thursday’s clash with two primary aims, a victory with a minimum of four tries and returning to base camp with no fresh injury concerns.
Matches odds with Coral: Ireland 1/500 Draw 125/1 Russia 80/1
Ben’s Prediction: Ireland win by 21 points