RWC: Australia charge into quarter finals

Australia have qualified for the Rugby World Cup quarter finals with easy 68-22 victory over Russia in Nelson on Saturday.

The win was soured by injuries to Drew Mitchell and James Slipper. Mitchell limped from the field with a torn hamstring in the second half, while Slipper went off in the 70th minute with a shoulder injury.

Australia put on seven tries to lead at the break to lead 47-5, but Russia came back in the second half as the Wallabies struggled to execute in the difficult conditions.

The win takes the Wallabies to the top of Pool C with 15 points, Ireland still have the opportunity to win the group if they can come away with a victory over Italy on Sunday.

If Ireland beat the Italians, the Australians will face South Africa in Wellington, an Irish loss will see them play Wales on Saturday.

The Wallabies opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Barnes slipped through after a strong run from “winger” Radike Samo.

Barnes then turned provider only two minutes later when he kicked for Mitchell to score Australia’s second.

Ben McCalman was next to cross, when he was on the end of an impressive team try that started from a great kick from Quade Cooper to Samo.

Russia made their first excursion into enemy territory and were rewarded when winger Vladimir Ostroushko raced 40m to score his side’s first try.

Stephen Moore and Ashley-Cooper hit back for the Wallabies and O’Connor was able to convert from the sideline to complete the half.

The Bears refused to surrender and went over again on the hour when Denis Simplikevich intercepted a pass from Cooper and sprinted 50m to score under the posts.

Russia continued their resurgence when Rachkov barged over from close range before Barnes had the final say of the match in the 79th minute to cap an impressive individual display.

Wallabies 66
Tries: Pocock 2, Mitchell 2, Barnes 2, McCalman, Moore, Ashley-Cooper, Ma’afu,
Conv: O’Connor 9

Russia 22
Tries: Ostroushko, Simplikevich, Rachkov,
Conv: Rachkov 2
Drop goal: Rachkov 1

By Alex Barlow-Smith