League: Kangaroos cruise into quarter finals

By Paul Crawley in Limerick

Cooper Cronk (C) of Australiacuts between Liam Finn (R) and Joshua Toole (L) of Ireland during the Rugby League World Cup. Photo / Getty Images.
Cooper Cronk (C) of Australiacuts between Liam Finn (R) and Joshua Toole (L) of Ireland during the Rugby League World Cup. Photo / Getty Images.

The Kangaroos have cruised into the World Cup quarter finals with a thumping 50-0 win over Ireland.

It was only a small crowd of 5,021 that turned up in near freezing conditions but the Aussies certainly turned up the heat on their opposition with a clinical nine tries to nil hammering.

Up front Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita gave the Kangaroos great go forward and Jarryd Hayne and Cooper Cronk both crossed for doubles while Daly Cherry-Evans scored one try and didn't stop testing the opposition all night in a man-of-the-match performance at five eighth.

The win means the Kangaroos remain undefeated after their three pool games and they will now take on the United States next Saturday in Wrexham in Wales.

"We were happy with it," coach Tim Sheens said of the overall performance.

"We set ourselves some goals and I think the boys achieved them.

"Our kick-chase game was excellent. We wanted to really work hard on that aspect of our game this week."

Sheens said the Aussies went out with a focus on playing a style of football that would reward them in weeks to come as the competition moved forward to the knockout stage.
"I think there is a bit of that," he added.

"We played nice and tight. We got a little bit excited in the first half up near the line but we settled back down in the second half.

"We weren't worried about a score even though we put a score on. But at the end of the day it was about making sure we were disciplined and our kick-chase (improved) for the bigger games."

Australia were up 26-0 at halftime and in truth they probably should have been ahead by a fair bit more such was their dominance.

The Kangaroos had 69-31 per cent of first half possession and were up 9-1 in the penalty count.

Hayne opened the scoring in just the second minute when Brent Tate put him through some soft defence and in the 11th minute Cronk crossed with a simple show and go.
As hard as the tried the Irish just weren't at the same level as their opposition and with no ball it was always going to be a lopsided scoreline.

Greg Bird was the next to score running off a nice ball from Cherry-Evans in the 28th minute and three minutes after that Cherry-Evans was again involved when he tapped back a Cameron Smith kick and Brett Morris cleaned up the points.

Billy Slater scored two minutes before the break for the Aussies' fifth try.

Ireland started the second half playing with a lot more purpose but sloppy handling let them down.

Cronk put the Kangaroos further ahead when he touched down in the 56th minute for his second try.

Two minutes later Cherry-Evans regathered his own grubber for Australia's seventh try and when Andrew Fifita stormed over in the 64th minute it was 44-0 and the Kangaroos were running roughshod.

Hayne then finished it off in the 72nd minute with Australia's ninth try of the night to complete the 50-0 shutout.

Asked if he would now try and finalise his top 17-man squad going into the game against the United States, Sheens said: "It is hard to say. I didn't get any injuries so obviously I have got to come close to picking our best 17 on the next game but it is a difficult one.

"It is a real headache for me. We have so many guys playing well and I have a couple of contentious positions in particular but we will work on that during the week."

- APNZ

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