23 Sep 2011

Wallabies bounce back to wallop US

11:20 pm on 23 September 2011

Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a hat-trick in seven minutes as Australia rebounded from last week's shock defeat to Ireland with a ruthless 67-5 Rugby World Cup victory over the United States.

The Wallabies ran in 11 tries with sometimes brilliant back play in Wellington for a bonus point win to remain firmly on course for the quarter-finals.

Australia had been heavily criticised for their 15-6 loss to Ireland, but showed against the US how dangerous they can be at Wellington Regional Stadium on Friday, Reuters reports.

The Tri-Nations champions had a nervous opening five minutes but then scored two electric tries to inside centre Rob Horne and flanker Rocky Elsom after they recycled the ball at lightning pace.

The US then had the better of the next 20 minutes after captain Tim Usasz had broken out from inside his own half that gave them some much needed momentum.

Despite holding out for several minutes, the Wallabies finally broke when US No 8 JJ Gagiano exploited a poorly defended blindside from an attacking scrum to bring the crowd to the feet as he scored the first try against Australia at the tournament so far.

The Wallabies, despite being forced back on their line again, highlighted how dangerous they were with ball in hand as they swept 90 metres down field for fullback Beale to finish off, which Cooper converted.

Faingaa secured the bonus point less than five minutes later to give the Wallabies a 22-5 lead at halftime.

The Wallabies continued their resurgence after the break with winger Drew Mitchell and replacement centre McCabe crossing in the first 10 minutes of the second half to ensure there was no chance of an American fightback.

Ashley-Cooper then went on his scoring burst before Faingaa scored his second after another long-range attack and Radike Samo took the final pass from Ashley-Cooper to score their final try. Berrick Barnes converted four of their second-half tries.

The Wallabies could have injury concerns with Kurtley Beale, Pat McCabe and Anthony Faingaa coming off, with team officials suggesting McCabe may have a dislocated shoulder, while Faingaa was knocked cold in a tackle in the final minute of the game.

The US next face Italy on 27 September, while Australia play Russia on 1 October. Both games will be played in Nelson.


Australia: Tries: Rob Horne, Rocky Elsom, Kurtley Beale, Anthony Faingaa (2), Drew Mitchell, Pat McCabe, Adam Ashley-Cooper (3), Radike Samo; Conversions: Quade Cooper (2), Berrick Barnes (4).

United States: Try: JJ Gagiano.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales).