The Wallabies received a much-needed confidence boost when they cruised to a comfortable 67-5 victory over the USA Eagles in their World Cup Pool C match in Wellington on Friday.
After a shaky start the Tri-Nations champions found their feet and pulled away from their spirited opponents in the second half, with their dangerous outside backs revelling in all the space out wide.
However, it was not a completely convincing performance against a USA team that showed 14 changes and the spate of injuries suffered by the Wallabies will be of particular concern to coach Robbie Deans.
The Australian pack would have enjoyed shoving the Americans around after their demoralising experience against Ireland, but it is hard to tell whether that was due to an improved performance on their part or the weakness of their opposition.
Michael de Vries rates the Australian players:
15 Kurtley Beale:
Another great performance, he broke the line at will, fizzing through gaps to set up players running off him and looked dangerous every time he joined the backline. Came off at the end of first half but made a huge impact in his time on the park. 9/10
14 Adam Ashley-Cooper:
The hat-trick hero did well to finish his tries but his selfless work in the first half was just as impressive. Backed himself and stayed on his feet well to set up tries by linking well with his teammates. He is looking more like the player that was so dominant last season, even though he is playing out of position. 9/10
13 Anthony Fainga'a:
Did what was expected of him - tackled and ran hard at the opposition defence. Lost the ball forward in a tackle early on but showed good strength to finish his try. Knocked-out cold late in the game after claiming a knee to the head going low for a tackle. 7/10
12 Rob Horne:
His first game back from long-term injury. Showed good strength to finish his team's first try in the corner and did the basics well before coming off for Pat McCabe early in the second half. 7/10
11 Drew Mitchell:
A hard-working display in his first game back from serious injury. Tried hard to get involved, coming off his wing often and was rewarded with his try at the start of the second half. 8/10
10 Quade Cooper:
Looked rattled early on and there will be questions over his confidence levels after a disappointing game against Ireland. Handling let him down at times but he soon found his feet and produced some of the touches that we have come to expect from the creative maestro. Made a superb run freeing up space on the outside and keeping the ball in two hands before giving a good offload for the first try. Got caught in possession on his own tryline which led to the Eagles' only try, but showed his value by pegging them back with clever territorial kicking. 6/10
9 Will Genia (captain):
A few uncharacteristic sloppy touches early on but his class shone through in his limited time on the pitch, made a crucial tackle in the 22 which turned defence into attack for his team. 7/10
8 Wycliff Palu:
His first Test start in two years, and it showed as he fumbled the first ball he got. Thundered over advantage line when given the chance and gave a great pass to Horne to set up the bonus-point try. His lack of match fitness was evident in the second half as he spilt a high ball and infringed at the breakdown before being taken off shortly afterwards. Was seen icing his hamstring on the bench which is probably a result of his lack of game-time. 6/10
7 Ben McCalman:
Anonymous once again, he slowed down opposition ball to a degree but lacks the judgement and finesse of a quality openside flank. Tackled hard but showed how important David Pocock is to the Wallabies. 6/10
6 Rocky Elsom:
Found wanting on the blindside of the scrum when he was easily brushed off by Gagiano who went over for the try despite the USA scrum being shoved backwards. Hit back with a good run from his 22 to put outside backs in space but a bit of a mixed bag from the veteran. 6/10
5 Nathan Sharpe:
An outstanding performance, it was obvious that he was hungry to make an impression and he did just that. Superb on line-out ball, and carried the ball up with purpose. Looked for work and showed plenty of intensity and ferocity. 9/10
4 Rob Simmons:
Put in some hard work in the second row in the first half nd got far more involved in the loose when he was moved to blindside flank when Vickerman came on for Palu in the second half. Got over advantage line well but did not stand out. 7/10
3 Ben Alexander:
Dropped his bind once but otherwise had the upper hand at scrum-time and will gain valuable confidence from a dominant display up front. 7/10
2 Tatafu Polota-Nau:
His line-outs throwing was accurate, much-improved from the Ireland game but it probably helped that there was no Paul O'Connell putting pressure on him. Still not back to full match-fitness but was forced to come back on when McCabe went off and played at loose forward for the rest of the game. 7/10
1 James Slipper:
Acquitted himself well on the loosehead side, gained ascendency in the scrums early on. Contributed well to a dominant Wallaby performance up front and can be satisfied with his performance. 7/10
16 Stephen Moore:
On for Polota-Nau 66 mins. A typically strong performance in his limited time on the pitch, against what was admittedly a beaten American pack. 7/10
17 Sekope Kepu:
On for Ben Alexander 49 mins. A good confidence boost after the working over he suffered last week. Was strong in the scrums and carried the ball up well. 8/10
18 Dan Vickerman:
On for Palu 53 mins. A determined display from the veteran who made his presence felt on defence and worked hard in the limited tight exchanges. 7/10
19 Radike Samo:
On for Elsom 46 mins. Shoved around a bit as the injuries started mounting and spent some time on the wing, finishing his late try well to put the finishing touch on a crushing victory. 7/10
20 Luke Burgess:
On for Genia 49 mins. Busy as ever, putting pressure on the opposition and providing good service for his backline. He is quite a threat from the base of the ruck as well. 8/10
21 Berrick Barnes:
On for Beale 38 mins. Put his hand up for inclusion in the knock-out phase of the tournament with a good all-round display. Made a great weaving run at the beginning of the second half and threw an accurate long pass to Cooper which showed his value. Made a big impression, taking the ball to the line well, tackling as hard as ever and seems the best goal-kicking option Robbie Deans has. With McCabe's injury he looks like a good bet for the inside centre berth. 9/10
22 Pat McCabe:
On for Rob Horne 47 mins and scored with his first touch of the ball. Did the basics well as usual but his night ended in disappointment as he was forced to leave the field with a possibly dislocated shoulder. 7/10
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.