Australia thrash Russia but lose Mitchell to injury

Australia crushed Russia 68-22 to secure their place in the rugby World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday but...

The official IRB ball for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Picture: AFP

Australia crushed Russia 68-22 to secure their place in the rugby World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday but suffered another injury blow when winger Drew Mitchell, who scored two of their 10 tries, pulled a hamstring as they lost their way in the second half.

The Wallabies join New Zealand and South Africa in the last eight and they might have to beat both their Tri-Nations rivals to reach the final if Ireland beat Italy on Sunday to finish top of Pool C.

Australia's bonus-point victory was always going to be a formality but they will be pleased with the sharpness shown, particularly in the backs, as seven tries, including two for dynamic flanker David Pocock, had them 47-5 ahead at the break.

They were less fluent as the rain fell in the second half and lost Mitchell, who suffered an horrific broken leg in April, when he pulled up when heading for what would have been his third try. James O'Connor converted nine of their 10 tries.

Russia, who could barely make a tackle in the first 40 minutes, were a different side after the break and ended the day with three tries by Vladamir Ostroushko, Denis Simplikevich and Konstantin Rachkova.