Rugby World Cup: Wallabies thrash Uruguay in 11 try romp

DOMINANT backrowers and glimpses of magic helped the Wallabies second-stringers hand Uruguay a first-rate thumping at Villa Park Sunday night.

It was by no means as clinical as it could have been but the Australian side — all bar one different to the side who played against Fiji — rattled up 11 tries and comfortably pocketed a bonus point.

Showing Australia’s strength in the position, dogged backrowers Ben McCalman and Sean McMahon were equal best on ground and both were rewarded with two tries each, while Drew Mitchell also scored a brace and skipper Dean Mumm, Joe Tomane, Henry Speight, Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani all scored one as well.

It was the biggest score of the Rugby World Cup so far but ill-discipline, wayward goal kicking occasionally sloppy handling by the Wallabies meant it could have been even bigger.

With a huge clash against England next weekend, the only serious downside was the sight of big lock Will Skelton being replaced with a shoulder injury in the second half.

Up against the world no. 19 side, Australia were always going to be too powerful and the Wallaby scrum dominated all afternoon.

Quade Cooper had a typically mixed afternoon in charge in the no. 10; sin-binned in the first half and with some loose handling, but also setting up a few tries with good skill and vision. He finished with five goals from 11 attempts as goalkicker.

McCalman and McMahon stuck their hands up high for a role against England but few others demanded one. Mitchell overcame a nervy start to show nice touches, and Beale was Australia’s best in the backline.

The Wallabies had picked up a bonus point after 30 minutes and scored a fifth to lead 31-5 at halftime, but left a few more tries out there with a less-than clinical opening period.

Perhaps too enthusiastic to impress, and with Uruguay an unusual defensive outfit, the Wallabies coughed up too much ball and suffered at the hands of the referee for ill-discipline; conceding seven penalties in the first half.

Australia's Ben McCalman was solid in the match between Australia and Uruguay at Villa Park.

Australia’s Ben McCalman was solid in the match between Australia and Uruguay at Villa Park.Source:AP

The first instance of the handling issues came with a first try being botched in the fifth minute, when a neat quick lineout from Drew Mitchell to Kurtley Beale saw the no. 15 scoot down the sideline only for Mitchell to grass a simple inside pass to score in support.

It mattered little, with Sean McMahon crossing a minute later from a rolling maul; the Rebels flanker doing well to scoot down an unmarked blindside.

McMahon was in the thick of it again when he burst back upfield after catching the ensuing kick-off, and set in train a second try. A lovely grubber from Beale in support found space and Quade Cooper won the race and flicked to Tomane, who scored.

It looked like a rout would follow but the Wallabies’ handling and discipline shackled their ambitions.

Cooper was sin-binned for a second time in three Tests when he judo-thrower the Uruguayan halfback with his arm deemed to be around the neck. It was a touch harsh, but also unnecessary from Cooper.

Australia settled, however, and their attack found some good balance between forward yardage up the middle and using width.

A neat play at the edge of the ruck found space for new captain Dean Mumm, who scooted 10 metres to the line to score.

A nicely worked inside ball five minutes later found Ben McCalman working hard and into space and he cruised for a fifth try, and a reward for a very strong overall game.

The second half saw Uruguay tire, and the Wallabies click more into gear.

Winger Drew Mitchell struggled early in the game but went looking for work in the second half, and he was rewarded when he swept off his wing into first receiver and wove through several defenders to score in the 47th minute.

That try saw him equal Chris Latham’s World Cup record of 11, and a second try minutes in the corner alter saw him break it and draw within three of the all-time record (15) of Jonah Lomu.

The Wallabies’ struggle to get clinical continued, with dropped balls spoiling attacking play.

McCalman grabbed a second in the 60th minute after nice hands from Beale.

McMahon, Toomua and Kuridrani all raced in to score in the last quarter.

Fulltime AUSTRALIA 65 (Ben McCalman 2, Sean McMahon 2, Drew Mitchell 2, Tevita Kuridrani, Dean Mumm, Henry Speight, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua tries Quade Cooper 5 cons) bt URUGUAY 3 (Felipe Berchesi pen) at Villa Park. Referee: Pascal Gauzere.