Planet Rugby

Australia ease past spirited Russia

01st October 2011 02:22

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Australia v Russia - Berrick Barnes

Australia's first: Berrick Barnes

Despite picking up a bonus-point win, Australia produced a Jekyll & Hyde showing in their 68-22 Pool victory over Russia in Nelson on Saturday.

Russia ran in three tries - through Vladimir Ostroushko, Denis Simplikevich and Konstantin Rachkov - but the Golds hit double figures.

Australia looked set to give the Bears a hiding from the kick-off as Australia opened the scoring with five minutes played, Berrick Barnes stepping and going in untouched. However, James O'Connor missed the resulting conversion.

Drew Mitchell, who later left the field with a hamstring injury, went in for the second try after collecting a well-weighted chip kick from Barnes. O'Connor made no mistake with those extras.

Then came one of the tries of the day as wing Radike Samo started a passage that saw many Australians involved. Quade Cooper gave the final, unselfish pass to a supporting Ben McCalman. Russia were on the rack.

Openside flanker David Pocock secured the bonus point try midway through the half, using his strength before he added another following good work from Adam Ashley-Cooper. O'Connor had definitely found his kicking range.

Then came one of the loudest cheers of the day when Russia crossed the whitewash. Coming from a Luke Burgess spillage, wing Ostroushko picked up the loose ball and stepped around Nathan Sharpe to make it 33-5.

Pocock then almost claimed his third try but instead chose to offload to hooker Stephen Moore, with O'Connor knocking over his fifth conversion.

Ashley-Cooper joined the party soon after as Cooper put in a nice grubber to his colleague that allowed O'Connor to make it 47-5 at half-time.

It didn't take long for Australia to add to their tally too as Salesi Ma'afu got over for their eighth try after referee Bryce Lawrence had twice played an advantage.

Replacement Rachkov's drop-goal cut the lead to 54-8 but then Mitchell responded for his side. Mitchell then looked set for another try but he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury with the line at his mercy.

Simplikevich soon after intercepted a wild pass from Cooper and to race in and suddenly the scoreline looked a lot more respectably for the Bears. However, Australia were to have the final say as Barnes got his second try after charging down a kick and strolling in.

Man of the match: Yet again the presence of David Pocock was a massive plus for Australia. With him they look like they could beat the Springboks, without him we are not so sure. He scored two tries in just 40 minutes, with another mention going to Luke Burgess.

Moment of the match: More for the Russian and New Zealand fans we have gone for Quade Cooper's pass that was intercepted by Denis Simplikevich. On the other side of the coin, Drew Mitchell's inside ball was excellent and led to Stephen Moore's try.

Villain of the match: Clean and fair. No villain.

The scorers:

For Australia:
Tries: Barnes 2, Mitchell 2, McCalman, Pocock 2, Moore, Ashley-Cooper, Ma'afu
Cons: O'Connor 9

For Russia:
Tries: Ostroushko, Simplikevich, Rachkov
Con: Rachkov 2
Drop: Rachkov

Australia: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Radike Samo, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 James Horwill (captain), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota Nau, 17 Saia Fainga'a, 18 Salesi Ma'afu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Rocky Elsom, 21 Will Genia, 22 Nick Phipps.

Russia: 15 Vasily Artemyev, 14 Denis Simplikevich, 13 Andrey Kuzin, 12 Alexey Makovetskiy, 11 Vladimir Ostroushko, 10 Yury Kushnarev, 9 Alexander Yanyushkin, 8 Victor Gresev, 7 Vyacheslav Grachev, 6 Artem Fatakhov, 5 Adam Byrnes, 4 Alexander Voytov, 3 Ivan Prishchepenko, 2 Vladislav Korshunov (c), 1 Sergey Popov.
Replacements: 16 Evgeny Matveev, 17 Vladimir Botvinnikov, 18 Alexey Travkin, 19 Andrey Garbuzov, 20 Alexander Shakirov, 21 Konstantin Rachkov, 22 Mikhail Babaev.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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