Drew Mitchell made the most of his starting opportunity, becoming Australia’s most prolific World Cup try-scorer as the Wallabies notched a 65-3 win over Uruguay at Birmingham’s Villa Park on Sunday.
Mitchell, Ben McCalman and Sean McMahon all scored doubles in a match where the Wallabies produced moments of sizzling attack, producing the highest score of the tournament thus far. With the victory, the Wallabies climbed to the top of Pool A, joining Wales on 9 points after collecting their first bonus-point win of the tournament.
Two tries in four minutes in the second half made Mitchell the nation’s most prolific World Cup try-scorer with his 12th five-pointer, overtaking Chris Latham.
The Toulon winger made the most metres of any Wallaby, with 144 metres for the game along with four line breaks and a match-high 10 carries over the gain-line in an impressive performance after a recovering from a couple of early blemishes including a fumbled pass when he looked certain to score the opening try of the match.
With a crucial match against England looming at Twickenham on October 3, the Wallabies needed to make a statement against Uruguay but lacked in execution early.
The side, which had 14 different players from the team's opening game on Wednesday night, started at a frenetic pace but basic errors cost them close to the line. Kurtley Beale took off on an electrifying run in the sixth minute down the left hand-side but a selfless inside pass was fumbled by Mitchell.
Moments later the Wallabies were able to execute, with eventual Man of the Match and youngest squad member Sean McMahon crashing over on the short side off a rolling maul.
In a typically energetic display, McMahon was in everything for the Wallabies and eventually added a second five-pointer off a another rolling maul in the 70th minute.
McMahon's early try opened the floodgates for the Wallabies with Joe Tomane crossing in the ninth minute off a Quade Cooper flick pass.
Cooper’s mixed history at the World Cup continued after the Wallabies flyhalf was handed a yellow card for a high tackle in the 14th minute and failed to find consistency with the boot, making only five of his 11 conversion attempts in the match.
The 27-year-old showed some of his best footwork, though, setting up the try of the match for Matt Toomua in the 72nd minute and reminding fans of his attacking arsenal.
A penalty to Uruguay gave Felipe Berchesi their only points of the afternoon, cutting the margin to 12-3 in the 24th minute.
From that moment the Wallabies took command of the contest, securing their four-try bonus point with tries to captain Dean Mumm and Henry Speight with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Blindside flanker Ben McCalman made it five first-half tries for the men in gold, scoring off a well-executed set piece play when he barged over off a deft inside ball from Cooper under the posts, before crossing the line again when he finished another well-worked team try in the 61st minute.
Lock Rob Simmons replaced number eight Wycliff Palu at half-time and played strongly in attack in an unfamiliar role, while Kane Douglas replaced an injured Will Skelton (shoulder) midway through the second half.
The Wallabies' lineout was much improved on their performance against Fiji, with a perfect showing from 14 throws.
Late replacement Tevita Kuridrani capped off the Wallabies’ thumping win crossing in the 81st minute.
Australia's next Pool A Match will be against England at Twickenham on Saturday (Sunday 6:00am kick off AEST).
Australia 65 (Sean McMahon 2, Drew Mitchell 2, Ben McCalman 2, Joe Tomane, Henry Speight, Dean Mumm, Matt Toomua, Tevita Kuridrani tries; Quade Cooper 5 conversions) defeated Uruguay 3 (Felipe Berchesi pen)