25 Sep 2011

Ireland on track to make quarterfinals

9:07 pm on 25 September 2011

Ireland ran in nine tries to beat a spirited Russia side 62-12 on Sunday and remain firmly on track to top Pool C and claim a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Maintaining the momentum from their upset victory over Australia, the Irish secured a bonus point at Rotorua International Stadium with three tries in three minutes at the end of the second half against a Russian team playing its third game in 11 days.

Centre Keith Earls crossed for his second try eight minutes into the second spell to help ensure Ireland would go into their final pool match against Italy in Dunedin on 2 October with three wins from three games, Reuters reports.

Experienced first five-eighth Ronan O'Gara was outstanding, kicking seven from eight and marshalling a backline which had been overhauled from last week's triumph.

O'Gara had already converted a penalty when his opposite number Konstantin Rachkov was sin-binned in the eighth minute for a deliberate knock on.

Ireland took full advantage, and winger McFadden slid across the wet turf to gather O'Gara's cross-kick in the 10th minute before flanker Sean O'Brien crashed through the defence for a second try three minutes later.

The Irish attack then stalled and the spirited Russians carved out a few chances, own but the three-try blitz at the end of the half ended the match as a contest.

New Zealand-born halfback Isaac Boss inched over from close range for the first, livewire winger Andrew Trimble's break put Earls in for the second and Trimble added the third himself on the stroke of halftime.

Earls carved his way through the defence to cross for his second eight minutes into the second spell and when O'Gara kicked his fifth conversion, the Irish were leading 43-0.

The Russians finally got some reward for their brave performance two minutes later when fullback Vasily Artemyev scythed through the Irish defence to touch down.

The noisy Russian element in the largely green-clad crowd of 25,000 were back on their feet nine minutes later when winger Denis Simplikevich bulldozed his way across the try line in the corner.

The fightback was short-lived, however, and Ireland hammered home their superiority with tries in the last 15 minutes from Rob Kearney, replacement flanker Shane Jennings and prop Tony Buckley.


Ireland: Tries: Fergus McFadden, Sean O'Brien, Isaac Boss, Keith Earls (2), Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney, Shane Jennings, Tony Buckley. Penalty: Ronan O'Gara. Conversions: O'Gara (6), Jonathan Sexton.

Russia: Tries: Vasily Artemyev, Denis Simplikevich. Conversion: Konstantin Rachkov.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)