Wallabies overcome plucky Americans
October 16, 1999
Wallaby wing Scott Staniforth bagged a brace of tries on debut
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Wing Scott Staniforth marked his test debut with a brace of tries as Australia trounced the United States at Thomond Park. It was the third straight win for the Wallabies, who finished on top of the pool.
Going into the match already assured of a quarter-final spot, the Australians fielded a second-string side that was still far too good for the game but outgunned American part-timers.
The Australians will now play either Wales, Samoa or Argentina in the quarters in Cardiff on October 23, while the United States failed to break a World Cup winless streak that stretches back to 1987 and will go home having lost all three of their matches.
Fly-half Stephen Larkham, hooker Michael Foley, wing Matthew Burke, flanker Tiaan Strauss, fullback Chris Latham and scrum-half Chris Whitaker also scored tries for the Aussies, while Burke kicked five conversions and a penalty and Joe Roff a conversion in what was the first international to be played in Limerick for 101 years.
The Americans, who trailed by only 12 points at half-time, responded with a try to Juan Grobler, converted by Kevin Dalzell, three penalties from Dalzell and a drop goal from David Niu.
Larkham opened the scoring after just three minutes when the Australians burst down the middle. Larkham, who had started the move, backed up to take a pass from Jim Williams just before the line. Burke's conversion made it 7-0.
The Australians then survived some uncomfortable moments on defence close to their own line before Burke's 13th-minute penalty made the margin 10 points.
Niu, a former Australian rugby league player, got the first points for the Eagles with a drop goal after 15 minutes but the Australians stormed back with a sparkling passing movement that saw 21-year-old wing Staniforth mark his debut with a fine try in the corner. Burke's kick made it 17-3.
The Americans were incensed when lock Alec Parker got over the line but was ruled by referee Andrew Watson not to have touched down Good work by Whitaker, then Latham, kept out the Americans as the Wallabies scrambled in defence but wing Grobler finally scored in the corner just a couple of minutes before halftime - and Dalzell converted. The Australian lead was reduced to seven points - and the Wallabies had conceded their first try of the tournament.
Five minutes into injury time, the Australians got a pushover try to Foley, although Burke's kick missed.
The Wallabies began the second half in similar vein. First Larkham's clever kick ahead set up Staniforth's second try and then, after lock Tom Bowman had a touchdown disallowed, Burke went over in the opposite corner to make it 34-10. The game was already over as a contest.
A trio of Dalzell penalties briefly lifted American hearts but former Springbok Strauss scored the sixth try for the Aussies with 12 minutes remaining and Burke again converted to make it 41-19.
Latham's try with seven minutes and Whitaker's in injury time rubbed salt into the American wounds and eight tries to one was a harsh indication of the gap in class between the teams.
Scorers: Australia 55: Tries: Staniforth 2, Burke, Foley, Larkham, Latham, Strauss, Whitaker; Cons: Burke 5, Roff; Pens: Burke. USA 19: Tries: Grobler; Cons: Dalzell; Pens: Dalzell 3; Drop Goals: Niu.