Rugby World Cup: Australia's injury woes continue in Russian demolition

Radike Samo starts of the wing for Australia against Russia. Photo / Getty Images
Radike Samo starts of the wing for Australia against Russia. Photo / Getty Images

Australia 68
Russia 22

Australia's cakewalk victory over Russia was hardly an ideal lead up to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

The 68-22 victory was a training run in every sense as the Wallabies cut through the flimsy Russian defence with ease throughout the contest.

Australia racked up 10 tries in all, including doubles for David Pocock, Berrick Barnes and Drew Mitchell.

As the second half ticked on it was more about keeping an eye on the record books to see if any marks would be reached.

Few, if any, milestones were set in the end, although the clash marked the first time the two teams had met.

Coach Robbie Deans was given another injury headache when Mitchell looked to have picked up a hamstring complaint and he was substituted in the second half, while prop Sekope Kefu also left the field in the opening 40 minutes.

With a potential quarter-final showdown with South Africa looming, Deans may have hoped his side were given a tougher workout in their final pool game.

Deans also took the opportunity to go to the bench and made a few changes at half-time to ensure most of his 22 got on the field.

Second-five Barnes opened the scoring after only eight minutes when he took a sharp pass from Quade Cooper and cut through the Bears to dot down and that effectively began the procession.

As was often the case, Cooper had a hand in many of his side's five-pointers and his running game, vision and pace was all too much for a valiant Russian outfit.

Although, Cooper will no doubt cop more criticism from people in New Zealand when he threw an intercept pass to Russian winger Denis Simplikevich and the 20-year-old scooted away for a try.

Seemingly every time Cooper touched the ball he was booed by the crowd.

There was plenty of hype surrounding Radike Samo's shock move to the right wing, but the transplanted No 8 hardly set the world alight with his performance, although he did produce a couple of big runs.

For their troubles, Russia, the 21st ranked team in the world, managed the odd strong spell and the crowd burst in to life when winger Vladimir Ostroushko scored in the first half.

Patchy rain in the second spell halted the Wallabies' progress at times, but the speed with which they moved the ball was a level far and above Russia's capability.

Another bright spot was the goal-kicking of precocious fullback James O'Connor, who slotted nine goals from 10 attempts.

In one of the more bizarre scenes of the tournament, replacement pivot Konstantin Rachkov set himself and banged over a drop goal, with his side down 54-5 on the scoreboard.

Other than slightly improving their points differential it certainly wasn't going to put them in a spot to win the game.

Rachkov also put his name in the try-scorers' column when he crossed the chalk in the 69th minute, again to the delight of the noisy Nelson crowd.

Australia 68 (Drew Mitchell 2, David Pocock 2, Berrick Barnes 2, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Salesi Ma'afu tries; James O'Connor cons) Russia 22 (Vladimir Ostroushko, Konstantin Rachkov tries; Rachkov 2 cons, drop goal) HT: 47-5


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