Early Aussie blitz blows away Bears

Australia scored the four-try bonus point within 15 minutes to crush Russia 68-22.

The Wallabies led 47-5 at halftime.

The gap between the Tri Nations champions and one of rugby’s minnows has never been more obvious than in the first 20 minutes and in rugby terms it was men against toddlers, let alone boys.

Berrick Barnes scored first on an afternoon when losing players to injury was the only risk to the Aussie coaching staff.

And lose a player they did when Drew Mitchell hurt his hamstring and was carried off on 55 minutes.

The match resembled a game of touch in the first half and could have been an unopposed training run for the Aussies. They got to wear their official jumper for this one and have a crack at the World Cup records set (by Australia) in the 142-0 win against Namibia in 2003.

The minnows at this tournament have all produced one 60 minute effort, but being asked to play four matches in 16 days was as crazy as expecting any kind of challenge to the skilled Australians.

The Wallabies raced to a 61-5 lead and coach Robbie Deans was liberal with his bench. It coincided with the rain arriving and a Russian revival in which the Bears scored a drop goal and two converted tries, one of them from an intercept.

Quade Cooper threw the intercept pass (much to the delight of the Kiwi crowd), got pinned for making a tackle (again much to the delight of the crowd) and his last 30 minute effort was as forgettable as the opening 30 was memorable.

The only plus to come from the game for the Aussies was that specialist open side flanker David Pocock played 40 minutes for the first time since Australia’s tournament opener against Italy.