With Rugby World Cup pool play wrapped up, Beyond the Game looks ahead at the next stage of the tournament and what to expect from the quarter-finals.

NZME's Alex Chapman is joined in studio by former All Black-turned-Blues coach Leon MacDonald and test great Buck Shelford to discuss what the All Blacks should expect from their next opponents, Ireland.

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Although a match-up with the Irish was likely not expected by the team until later in the tournament, MacDonald says the All Blacks will be well prepared.

"At some point, they were going to come across the Irish," he said. "[They'll be] very aware of their threat, lost to them twice, it'll be exciting.

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"I think they'll do it relatively comfortably, I think there's 20 points in it."

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Shelford also weighs in on his predictions of what to expect from the Irish, saying the physicality will be tough.

"There's always going to be physicality when it comes to the All Blacks, you saw in our first game when we played South Africa, we really took the South Africans on," he said.

"They'll need to try and dominate them early on in the game to try and set them back and get some good points upfront."

Commentator Nigel Yalden joins the show from Japan, sharing his thoughts -and excitement - on the final pool standings while looking ahead to Saturday's game.

"We have seen four cracking games between the All Blacks and Ireland under the stewardship of Steve Hansen and Joe Schmidt and I cannot wait for the fifth edition," Yalden said.

Meanwhile, NZME's Cheree Kinnear speaks with former Scottish rugby player Scott Hastings about what the lead up to the final game between Japan and Scotland was like with Typhoon Hagibis threatening another cancellation.

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We also hear from Kiwi-born Italian star Dean Budd on the disappointment of the Azzurri's cancelled final pool match against the All Blacks.