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29 Sep 2007 10:47
Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell continued his try-scoring feast at the World Cup with a double in Australia’s 37-6 victory over Canada on Saturday.
Mitchell crossed twice in the second half to lift his tally for the tournament to seven tries from just four games, breaking David Campese’s Australian record for the most tries in a single World Cup with his six in 1991.
Mitchell’s seven touchdowns is already the most by any player at this World Cup and just one short of the all-time record of eight, which was set by New Zealand’s Jonah Lomu in 1999.
Chris Latham, Adam Freier, Al Baxter and George Smith also helped themselves to tries as the Wallabies finished the pool phase with another resounding, albeit error-strewn, win.
The Wallabies were already assured of their place in the quarterfinals against England so were able to rest their best players for a match that had no bearing on the competition and understandably lacked intensity.
The new combination were never in danger of losing to Canada but struggled to turn their dominance into points, lacking cohesion and repeatedly losing possession in the slippery conditions.
Australia opened the scoring in fewer than two minutes when flyhalf Julian Huxley landed a penalty from in front but failed to impose themselves on Canada in the first 40 minutes as steady rain made the ball greasy.
Baxter celebrated his 50th appearance for the Wallabies by scoring his first Test try in the 24th minute, diving over in the left corner as the Australians started finding cracks in the Canadian defence.
When Freier crashed over from the back of a maul 10 minutes later, the Australians looked to be on their way to a huge win but the anticipated rout never materialised.
Canada held the Australians to 13-0 at halftime and opened their own account with two penalties from James Pritchard in the second term before running out of puff in the final half hour.
Smith was gifted a try when Canadian hooker Pat Riordan threw the ball straight to him off a lineout before Mitchell and Latham joined in the act, giving Australia maximum points from their pool games. Canada finished bottom of the Pool B standings without a single win for the first time at a World Cup.
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