AAC Moving to Sydney

Adam Ashley-Cooper (above) scored the fastest Rugby World Cup hat-trick ever as Australia scored 11 tries to sweep past USA 67-5 at Wellington Regional Stadium on Friday.

Ashley-Cooper’s treble came in the space of just seven minutes following second-half scores from Drew Mitchell and Pat McCabe to maintain the Wallabies’ tempo.

The wing’s first came after the Wallabies swept across the field from a scrum to create an overlap, replacement Berrick Barnes converting after taking over the kicking duties from Quade Cooper.

Barnes added the extras for Ashley-Cooper’s next two tries before Anthony Faingaa crossed for his second of the night. Radike Samo strode in for Australia’s 11th try.

Clinical finishing had put Australia 22-5 up at half-time, having racked up four tries to earn a bonus point.

The Wallabies, stung by the loss to Ireland last week, soon clicked into gear as fly half Cooper set up Robert Horne for the opening try, though Kurtley Beale missed the conversion.

Rocky Elsom crossed next to make it 10-0 but USA, with scrum half and captain Tim Usasz orchestrating matters, found their own attacking rhythm.

Fly half Nese Malifa’s crossfield kick was superbly taken by right wing Colin Hawley and only a well-positioned Cooper prevented a try.

Australia then held out for 18 phases but from the resulting scrum USA number 8 JJ Gagiano touched down.

Two moments of Australian alertness then created a comfortable margin. First they pounced on a turnover in their own 22, Elsom linking with Ashley-Cooper to set up Beale for a try; four minutes later Faingaa was on hand to profit from a Horne break.

Cooper, who switched to full back when Beale went off just before half-time, had a wayward night with the boot, converting only two of his five chances.

Coach Robbie Deans had used all his replacements by the 66th minute, and when Faingaa was taken off on a stretcher right on full-time the Wallabies had to play out the remaining seconds with 14.