Australia romp to victory
First-half blitz blows away Russia
Last Updated: 01/10/11 5:11am
Pocock and McCalman (l) celebrate
Australia made light of their injury problems as they romped to a 68-22 victory over Russia in Nelson.
The Wallabies went into match with only 24 players available, with No.8 Radike Samo forced into action on the wing and two hookers and two No.9s named on the bench.
And things got worse for coach Robbie Deans as Drew Mitchell appeared to suffer a nasty hamstring injury after the break.
However Australia still had far too much class for the Bears as they ran in 10 tries, while James O'Connor slotted over nine conversions.
The first half saw Australia run in tries at will - with some poor Russian tackling certainly not helping the cause of the minnows.
Berrick Barnes, Mitchell, Ben McCalman, David Pocock (2), Stephen Moore and Adam Ashley-Cooper all crossed as Australia racked up 47 points in a blistering 40 minutes.
After the interval Australia appeared to take their foot off the gas but Salesi Ma'afu, Mitchell - who was denied a hat-trick when he pulled up holding his left hamstring after breaking clear - and Barnes all crossed.
However the biggest cheers of the day were reserved for the Russians, who scored three memorable tries through Vladimir Ostroushko, Denis Simplikevich and Konstantin Rachkov.
Ostroushko showed his finishing prowess in the first half as he scooped up the ball after Luke Burgess knocked on in the tackle, side-stepped Nathan Sharpe and showed his pace to slide in in the corner.
The highly-rated Simplikevich scored Russia's second try after the break as he took an interception from Quade Cooper before sprinting clear.
Replacement fly-half Rachkov, who also slotted over a drop-goal and two conversions, then ensured the Bears would leave with their heads held high as he powered over from close range.
Australia will now await the outcome the result of the final Pool C encounter between Ireland and Ireland to see who they will face - with Wales or South Africa awaiting in the quarter-finals.