FUKUROI CITY • Australia stumbled into the Rugby World Cup knockout stages in difficult conditions, outlasting a tough Georgia side to finish their Pool D campaign with a lacklustre 27-8 win yesterday.
With the wind and persistent rain presaging today's arrival of Typhoon Hagibis making for an untidy game at Shizuoka Stadium, they did enough to put themselves in a position to top the pool if Wales slip up against Uruguay tomorrow.
That appears unlikely and, with England looming as the Wallabies' quarter-final opponents, a run-out against a bruising team was as good a warmup coach Michael Cheika could have asked for.
Nic White's converted try was the only one before the break, while Soso Matiashvili and Matt To'omua traded penalties as Australia led 10-3. They added three more tries through Marika Koroibete, Jack Dempsey and Will Genia for a bonus point, though the biggest cheer came when Alexander Todua crossed the line for the Georgians.
Separately, World Rugby yesterday hit out at Scotland over the "disappointing" threat of legal action if tomorrow's Pool A game against Japan were to be cancelled owing to the storm. A decision will be made tomorrow morning after the typhoon passes through.
The governing body insisted that the rules state that if a group match cannot be played on the scheduled day, it will be counted as a draw.
The hosts, who have won all three games, must draw with or beat the Scots for the first time in eight Tests to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time, unless Ireland fail to overcome Samoa today.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
IRELAND V SAMOA
Singtel TV Ch141 & StarHub Ch222, 6.30pm