RUSSIA …………… 12 PTS

Ireland edged ever closer to the quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup with a bonus point win over Russia in New Zealand on Sunday.

Munster’s Keith Earls scored two of the nine tries as Declan Kidney’s team made it three wins from three in Pool C in this fixture played in Rotorua.

A week after they upset the highly rated Australians, Ireland maintained their momentum against a Russian side playing for the third time in 11 days.

Three tries in the final minutes of the first-half secured the bonus point early on to leave Ireland favorites to top the pool if they beat Italy next weekend.

Russia did manage two second-half tries of their own but they were always up against it in a match that saw Ireland lead 36-0 at half-time.



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Earls touched down either side of half-time with Ireland’s other tries coming from Fergus McFadden, Sean O’Brien, Isaac Boss, Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney, Shane Jennings and Tony Buckley.

Man of the match Ronan O’Gara hit one penalty and six conversions with replacement Jonathon Sexton adding the final conversion.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney was satisfied with the performance. “We’d be pleased. We probably went a bit asleep in the middle of both halves but we’re delighted with the win and to score that number of tries,” said Kidney.

“Every side you have to prepare for in a World Cup because you know teams will come at you fully. We had to go strong at the start of the first half - and we did that - and then we had a golden patch before half-time.

“Three tries in five or six minutes was good for us but we had to work for it and little bits we made hard for ourselves and the Russians scored two good tries against us.”

Out-half O’Gara added: “There’s good competition in our squad and everybody feels part of it. The camp is buzzing at the minute and we want to make the most of this opportunity.”