- Ireland reach quarter-finals of rugby World Cup with emphatic 36-6 victory over Italy
- Ireland top Pool C ahead of second-placed Australia, and now play Wales
- Italy's coach had claimed his team boasted a better front row and would prove it
- Hosts New Zealand shrug off loss of Dan Cartter to thrash Canada 75-19
Ireland reached the quarterfinals of the rugby World Cup Sunday with an emphatic 36-6 victory over Italy at the Otago Stadium.
Ireland topped Pool C ahead of second-placed Australia, and now play Wales in the knockout phase in Wellington next Saturday.
They were 12-6 up as the second half began but put the game out of reach for Italy with two tries. Captain Brian O'Driscoll scored in the 47th minute after taking a well-timed pass from Tommy Bowe.
Four minutes later left-wing Keith Earls marked his birthday by finishing a sweeping move with a try in the far corner after good work by center Gordon D'Arcy and blindside flanker Stephen Ferris.
Ronan O'Gara, who landed six out of seven placekicks for a match haul of 16 points before being replaced by rival fly-half Jonathan Sexton, a less reliable goalkicker, duly landed the conversion.
Ireland's traveling support virtually turned the match into a home game with most of the stadium bathed in green. Before the match Italy coach Nick Mallett had claimed his team boasted a better front row and would prove it.
But that dominance failed to materialize and neither side ever took full control.
Earlier, Wales were in superb form as they thrashed Fiji 66-0 tn Hamilton.
Jamie Roberts with two tries, Scott Williams, George North, Sam Warburton, Lloyd Burns, Leigh Halfpenny, Lloyd Williams and Jonathan Davies crossed in the rout.
Hosts New Zealand also shrugged off the loss of star fly half Dan Carter to round off their Pool A campaign with a 75-19 victory over Canada.
They ran in 12 tries with Zac Guildford leading the way with four. Colin Slade, the replacement for Carter, kicked four conversions and a penalty.
The All Blacks will play Argentina in the quarterfinals next Sunday after the Pumas confirmed their qualification for the knockout stages ahead of Scotland with a 25-7 win over Georgia.