Nine-try Ireland hammer Russia
Cian Healy of Ireland is tackled by Andrey Garbuzov of Russia during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Ireland and Russia at Rotorua International Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Rotorua, New Zealand.
( September 24, 2011 - Photos by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Ireland strengthened their chances of topping Pool C after claiming a nine-try 62-12 win over Russia at Rotorua International Stadium on Sunday.
With only six players backing up from the 15-6 upset of Australia at Eden Park last weekend, they still maintained their three-point lead over the Wallabies in Pool C heading into the final games.
A mass of green among the 25,661 capacity at the Rotorua venue generated a homely feel for for Ireland. And they steamed to a 43-0 lead eight minutes after half-time before taking off their key men and giving Russia the chance to get on the scoreboard with two late tries.
The Irish will lock up Pool C with victory over Six Nations rivals Italy in Dunedin next Sunday, with the Italians to first play the USA on Tuesday.
Fly-half Ronan O'Gara, the official man-of-the-match in his 115th Test, extended his Irish scoring record to 1,054 points with 15 points from six conversions and a penalty before he was replaced with 15 minutes remaining.
Man of the match: We have mentioned him time and time again but flanker Sean O'Brien continues to impress. He was a tower of strength for the Irish and deserved his first-half try.
Sean O'Brien of Ireland is tackled by Sergey Popov of Russia during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Ireland and Russia at Rotorua International Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Russia v Australia
Ireland v Italy