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Sunday, October 3, 1999 Published at 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK

Wallabies thrash Romania

Tim Horan: Quickest try of the World Cup so far

Australia 57-9 Romania

Australia scored eight tries as they opened their World Cup account with the demolition of Romania in Belfast.

Number eight Toutai Kefu scored a hat-trick in the try-spree that saw the Wallabies exceed 50 points in a World Cup match for the first time. Their previous best was 47-7 against the US.

But to Romania's credit, they persistently ran at the Australians and for 15 minutes in the second half they almost looked the better side, without ever breaching the try-line.

£10,000 prize

It was another exhibition of the gulf in class between the haves and have nots of world rugby in front of a cheerful 20,000 crowd at the Ravenhill Ground.

The problem was exacerbated by a pre-Cup dispute that saw 19 Romanian players pull out of the competition.

[ image: Matt Burke: One try from the night]
Matt Burke: One try from the night
Australia wasted no time in opening the scoring with a touchdown for Tim Horan in the first two minutes. It earned the centre £10,000 for being the first player to score within 119.5 secs - the length of time it apparently takes to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, the chief sponsor.

Tongan-born Kefu touched down next off a trademark reverse flick from scrumhalf George Gregan.

Romania caused moments of panic, with Petre Mitu slotting a goal after one adventure into the Australian half to bring the scores back to 12-3.

On 25 minutes, Kefu bagged his second from a straightforward pushover. The Wallabies then sat back and cruised, with the result that they had to wait until injury time in the first half for their next try.

Winger Jason Little dived on a ball fumbled by his opposite number Cristian Sauan behind his own try-line, giving the Australians a 24-3 lead at the interval.

Romania robbed

Ben Tune made way for Joe Roff, who scored the first time he handled the ball following yet more chaos in the Romanian defence.

The Europeans then pulled their act together and came back at the Australians, battering their line for 15 minutes and coming desperately close to a touchdown.

The Wallabies bided their time and exploded when they finally broke out, racing 60 yards upfield to send replacement hooker Jeremy Paul over for the try.

Fullback Matt Burke flew in for try number seven, while Kefu fittingly rounded of the rout with his third.

Australia: Matt Burke, Ben Tune, Daniel Herbert, Tim Horan, Jason Little, Rod Kafer, George Gregan, Toutai Kefu, David Wilson, Matt Cockbain, John Eales, David Giffin, Andrew Blades, Phil Kearns, Richard Harry.

Romania: Mihai Vioreanu, Cristian Sauan, Gabriel Brezoaianu, Romeo Gontineac (captain), Gheorge Solomie, Roland Vusec, Petre Mitu, Catalin Draguceanu, Erdinici Septar, Adrian Petrache, Ovidiu Slusariuc, Tiberiu Brinza, Laurentiu Rotaru, Petru Balan, Constantin Stan.

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