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Ireland rout Russia

Ireland continued their march on the World Cup quarter-finals with a predictable 62-12 bonus-point rout of Russia at Rotorua International Stadium.

Keith Earls led the assault with two tries with Fergus McFadden, Sean O'Brien, Isaac Boss, Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney, Shane Jennings and Tony Buckley also breaching the whitewash.

Man of the match Ronan O'Gara kicked a penalty and six conversions to finish with 15 points, missing just one shot at goal, and made good use of the space given to him by the opposition. Ireland did not have it all their own way with Vasily Artemyev and Denis Simplikevich scoring second-half tries for Russia.

The first try arrived in the 10th minute, McFadden expertly touching down O'Gara's crossfield bomb after sliding over the whitewash. It was already looking grim for Russia, who conceded again just three minutes later when a series of carries ended with O'Brien piercing the last line of defence.

Ireland's early assault had ground to a halt thanks to a mixture of Russian doggedness and their own lack of accuracy, exemplified by McFadden slinging a pass into touch. But as the half neared its conclusion, they found another gear, scoring three tries in four minutes.

Scrum-half Boss wriggled over from close range after Ireland had pounded at the Russian whitewash and then Earls worked an opening down the blindside with help from Trimble to score. With the try-scoring bonus point already secure, the Irish ran in a fifth for good measure with Trimble hacking ahead and diving on the ball.

Just six minutes of the second half had elapsed when Ireland scored their sixth try, Earls easily breaking through a tackle by Artem Fatakhov to gallop over.

It was not all one-way traffic, however, with alert scrum-half Alexander Yanyushkin causing confusion in the Irish defence until Artemyev arrived to take the ball and score under the posts with Konstantin Rachkov converting.

The Russians still looked dangerous when they had the ball in hand, a fact highlighted when Denis Simplikevich rode two tackles to touch down in the corner. Some loose passing - most notably from O'Gara - saw play switch from end to end until quick hands from Jamie Heaslip sent Kearney over.

Heaslip was becoming increasingly influential, but it was substitute Jennings who scored next when he burrowed over from close range. Ireland struck one final blow when Buckley forced his way across the line after Jonathan Sexton had neglected an overlap.


From Belfast Telegraph