Double trouble: Australia centre Matt Giteau scored two first-half tries

MONTPELLIER, 23 September - Australia booked a place in the quarter-finals with a 55-12 win over an under-strength Fiji in their Pool B match at Stade de la Mosson on Sunday.

The seven-tries-to-two victory garnered the Wallabies a bonus point and a safe passage to the knockout stage of the tournament. Centre Matt Giteau scored two tries in his 50th international, adding 17 points with the boot.

Australia coach John Connolly's plans to keep it tight backfired early on, with good pressure from Fiji forcing a number of handling errors before the two-time world champions found their stride.

Leading 22-5 at half time courtesy of tries to Giteau (2) and wing Drew Mitchell, the first of his hat-trick, the Wallabies started the second stanza in much the same way as the first with a penalty in the 43rd minute, taking the score to 25-5.

After some good work with the ball in the first half fly half Berrick Barnes again showed his class with a perfectly weighted drop goal and Australia looked comfortable at 28-5.

However, Fiji continued to plug away and were rewarded with a try to flanker Aca Ratuva after Mosese Rauluni broke through the Wallabies defence at the line-out.

Captain Seremaia Bai converted to bring his side back to 28-12. Giteau's third penalty at the 50th minute mark extended Australia's lead to 31-12.

With their quarter-final passage assured George Gregan, who equalled Englishman Will Carling's record of 59 international appearances as captain in his 137th international appearance, was replaced in the 58th minute.

Australia's bonus point was assured with further tries to Adam Ashley Cooper, Mitchell (2) and replacement Stephen Hoiles.

The Wallabies opened the scoring in the 17th minute after Giteau grabbed a fortuitous rebound. He converted his own try. A precision grubber kick from full back Chris Latham in the 31st minute helped Mitchell to score Australia's second converted try.

Giteau crossed for his second five-pointer on 36 minutes before Fiji picked up a well-deserved try to Isoa Neivua on half time.

Fiji, having already equalled their record number of wins at a single RWC, get their chance to secure a spot in the top eight against Wales in Nantes on 29 September.

RNS md/gs