The Wallabies picked up the bonus point in their opening Pool C encounter
A Ben Donaldson masterclass handed Eddie Jones a first win in his second spell in charge of Australia courtesy of a comfortable 35-15 triumph over Georgia in their opening World Cup encounter.
Jones had presided over five straight wins since he was parachuted in to the Wallabies hot seat, taking over from Dave Rennie in January. However, two tries in the first ten minutes got Australia going and they never looked back as full-back Donaldson’s 25-point haul and Player of the Match display helped brush aside an out-of-sorts Georgia.
The former England coach confidently predicted his new side will win this World Cup before they arrived in France and although it was not a perfect display in their first Pool C clash, there were plenty of signs that they can go deep in the tournament on the weaker side of the draw.
Jones’s big selection call coming in paid off in style after he handed Donaldson, usually a fly-half, his first international appearance in the No 15 jumper. Jordan Petaia got the scoring going inside two minutes as his determination got him over the line.
Wing Mark Nawaqatinase was the next to cross with Donaldson adding 11 points with his boot to give the men from Down Under a 21-3 lead at the break. Georgia looked way off the pace in the first 40, a display typified by wing Mirian Modebadze’s needless yellow card on the cusp of the interval.
Flanker Luka Ivanishvili used his power to barge over on the wing seven minutes into the second period to give Georgia hope but Donaldson dented that in some style.
Georgia’s young star Davit Niniashvili went from hero to zero after offloading straight to Taniela Tupou having made a great break into Australian territory. Tupou offloaded to Donaldson who raced in to score in what was a potential 14-point swing with the pass begging for Niniashvili to try and set up a try of his own.
That put Australia firmly back in the driving seat inside an hour and on 70 minutes, Donaldson completed his double after the forwards did the hard work in the maul and Carter Gordon’s pinpoint miss pass found him in acres of space as Georgia desperately rushed up to cut off the attack inside their own 22.
Los Lelos did have the final say as replacement tighthead Beka Gigashvili’s showed his supreme strength to score at the death but it was little more than a consolation for the Tier Two side who now have the best part of two weeks to ponder where it went wrong before they face Portugal.