Ireland marched back to the top of Group C following a comfortable 62-12 win over Russia.
Declan Kidney had made 10 changed to the side that started in the shock defeat of Australia, but the side gelled from the offset, immediately causing Russia some problems. Russia were already struggling to keep the Irish at bay when their fly half deliberately knocked on and found himself in the sin-bin within the opening 10 minutes. The extra man was the incentive that Ireland needed up push for the opening try.
O'Gara, having already converted an early penalty, chipped the ball forward for McFadden to touch down for the first try. The lead was further extended a couple of minutes later as O'Brien finished off from close range. With O'Gara successful with both conversions, Russia found themselves 17-0 down as Rachkov re-entered the field.
Not to be easily defeat, Russia mounted their own period of possession. Despite patiently working through the phases and thriving on Irish mistakes the Bears found that the stubborn Irish defence held firm. Whereas Russia couldn't make their possession count, Ireland took their chances when they arrived. Boss stretched out to place the ball at the foot of the posts to score Ireland's third try, before Earls and Trimble both found themselves on the scoresheet before half-time.
With a commanding 36-0 lead at half-time Ireland looked comfortable. With a bonus point already secured they start the second half as they finished the first. Within minutes Earls had crossed the whitewash a second time, O'Gara's subsequent conversion extended the lead to 43 points. Those who thought that Russia would simply slip further behind at this stage were mistaken. Instead they start another period of pressure, which ultimately led to two tries. The first from Artemyev, who found a hole in the Irish defence and rushed through to the try line. Simplikevich then finished a fine backline move to bring the Bears up to 12 points.
Unfortunately for Russia fatigue began to set in and their defence could not keep up with the final Irish surge. Kearney, Jennings and Buckley all crossed in the final quarter to condemn Russia to a 62-12 defeat. Despite the scoreline, Russia will take great heart from the game. Before the tournament they had hoped not to concede more than 80 points against Ireland and they achieved that. In the process they showed glimpses of what they can do behind the scrum as well as up front.
From an Irish point of view the result was never in question and will add to their confidence going into their vital game against Italy next weekend. If they can continue to play the way they have for the past two weeks, they should beat the Azzuri and march into a probably quarter final match against Wales.