- Wallabies record a comfortable 67-5 win over U.S. at Rugby World Cup
- Adam Ashley-Cooper scores the fastest hat-trick in World Cup history
- The result leaves Australia top of Pool D with 10 points
- Eagles need Russia to beat Ireland in order to have chance of reaching last eight
Winger Adam Ashley-Cooper scored the fastest hat-trick in Rugby World Cup history on Friday as Australia triumphed 67-5 against the United States.
The bonus-point win was Australia's second of the tournament in New Zealand, and the perfect response to last weekend's shock 15-6 defeat against Ireland.
The 1991 and 1999 world champions are now in a strong position to reach the quarterfinals, with their final Pool D match coming against World Cup debutants Russia on October 1.
U.S. coach Eddie O'Sullivan will need his native Ireland, who he coached at the last two World Cups, to lose against Russia on Sunday to keep alive the Super Eagles' slim hopes of reaching the last eight.
Ashley-Cooper registered three tries in seven second-half minutes after the Wallabies had built up a commanding 34-5 lead in Wellington, putting the 27-year-old joint top of the tournament's scoring standings.
Two tries in the first 10 minutes from center Rob Horne and flanker Rocky Elsom got Australia off to a strong start, before the U.S. responded with a score of their own through South Africa-born No. 8 J.J. Gagiano.
But it was to prove the only try of the match for the U.S., with Australia fullback Kurtley Beale and center Anthony Fainga'a both touching down to set up a 22-5 halftime lead.
The tries continued in the second half for coach Robbie Deans' team, as Australia went over the U.S. line four minutes into the second period through wing Drew Mitchell.
Center Pat McCabe grabbed another five points before Ashley-Cooper took over to ram home Australia's superiority.
A second try for Fainga'a and a final score from flanker Radike Samo set the seal on a commanding triumph.
"We spoke about being a little bit smarter in our decision-making," scrumhalf Will Genia, Australia's stand-in captain in the absence of regular skipper James Horwill, told the tournament's official website.
"The scoreline was flattering but the best thing was the way we went about it and our decision-making. We got clean ball to work with and it made it much easier to get on the front foot."
Australia ended the match with 14 men when Fainga'a was stretchered off with concussion in the final minute, with former New Zealand fullback Deans having used all his replacements after Beale, Horne, McCabe and back-row forward Wycliff Palu also went off injured.