Australia wrapped up their World Cup preparations with a 47-10 victory over the United States here Saturday in a hard-fought Test match at Soldier Field.
A largely second string Wallabies side were made to work hard for the win by the American underdogs before running out convincing winners, outscoring their opponents by seven tries to one in front of 23,112 fans.
Fly-half Bernard Foley was the top scorer for the Australians, finishing with a 17-point haul with a try and six conversions.
It was Australia’s final game before they open their bid for a third World Cup crown against Fiji in Cardiff on September 23.
An entertaining first half saw Australia surge into comfortable early lead, with Foley and scrum-half Nick Phipps both dotting down for converted scores in the opening quarter.
Foley skipped over for the Wallabies first, jinking inside from close range to score under the posts.
Phipps’ score came after a superb sweeping move, with captain James Slipper and number eight Wycliff Palu combining to send the scrum-half over for a well-worked score.
With Australia’s scrum dominating the early exchanges, twice driving the Americans back to take put ins against the head, the tourists looked to be firmly in control against their less experienced counterparts.
But after overcoming their early nerves the Americans hit back with a penalty from A.J. MacGinty to reduce the deficit to 14-3 on 21 minutes when Australia were penalised for coming in from the wrong side.
The score lifted the Eagles and it got better after the half hour mark when Ngwenya Takudzwa found himself in space down the right.
The Zimbabwe-born right wing carved open a hole and offloaded to the supporting scrum-half Mike Petri who touched down.
MacGinty’s conversion made it 14-10 at the break. Australia started the second half as they had done the first, dominating up front and grabbing an early score when a drive from close range resulted in flanker Sean McMahon surging over.
The Wallabies extended the lead t0 28-10 towards the end of the third quarter, replacement lock Dean Mumm crashing over after Australia worked the ball through the phases following an attacking line-out.
The United States almost hit back with their second try when Saracens star Chris Wyles burst clear with an interception but just couldn’t make it to the tryline after a lungbursting sprint up field.
But the chance went begging and moments later Australia raced away from deep in their own territory, with fullback Kurtley Beale going over in the corner, Foley adding his fifth conversion of the night to make it 35-10.
As the Americans tired, spaces kept opening up, and replacement Quade Cooper added a sixth score with five minutes to go to push the scoreline to 42-10 before wing Taqele Naiyaravoro added a seventh. – Agence France-Presse