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RugbyL: Morris and Hayne star in Aussie romp

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Brett Morris made history as the first man to grab four tries in a first-half at a Rugby League World Cup as Australia comfortably saw off USA 62-0 in their quarter-final.

Nine-time World Cup champions and unbeaten so far in this year's tournament, the Kangaroos were always expected to win against a Tomahawks side that had exceeded expectations in making the last eight.

And Morris, picked on the right wing for the clash at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, went over four times in the first half while Jarryd Hayne, moved into the centres, had four of his own over the 80 minutes.

Hayne, Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk all went over in the first half in addition to Morris's heroics and after the break Tim Sheens's side red-hot scoring form slowed somewhat and they lost full-back Billy Slater to injury.

But Inglis grabbed a second and Hayne grabbed a second-half hat-trick to take his tally to four as their new centre pairing began to flourish, Australia comfortably sealing their semi-final spot at Wembley where they await either Fiji or Samoa.

The writing was on the wall for USA right from the start as Smith's kick off came back off the upright and was re-gathered by the Kangaroos.

And while the Tomahawks held out for the first set of six, in the third minute Hayne was over after being fed by his centre partner Inglis, Jonathan Thurston off target with the extras.

The Tomahawks' defence were putting in some fantastic hits but Australian pressure was always going to tell in the end and they had their second try in the 12th minute, Inglis scoring himself this time and Thurston converting.

USA were still threatening with what little possession they could muster, Morris spilling a Craig Priestly up and under to give the Americans a strong attacking platform, but they could not profit from it.

And Morris did not take long to make up for his error, crossing for the Kangaroos third try of the half with a superb solo effort.

Thurston's conversion attempt came back off the uprights but the Kangaroos were starting to find their groove and moments later the skipper Smith was over for the fourth score after Paul Gallen's offload.

The floodgates were now well and truly open and before the half hour mark the Kangaroos had a fifth and Morris a second, the winger collecting Slater's pass to dot down.

Cronk was the next to go over and Morris had tied up a first-half hat-trick with five minutes still left on the clock before the break.

And in the final minute of the period Morris sealed his place in the record books, the winger climbing high to collect Cronk's cross-field kick and dot down.

That meant the sides went in with Australia 38-0 to the good, the one negative being Thurston's kicking as the half-back only converted three of the eight first-half scores.

USA held firm in the opening skirmishes of the second half and it took until the 51st minute before Inglis outmuscled four defenders to grab his second.

Before that Slater had limped off with an apparent knee injury but the backline was still firing and Hayne went over for his second and Thurston, who had rediscovered his kicking, converted to bring up the half century before Hayne then added two more to complete the scoring.

str/bc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131116/rugbyl-morris-and-hayne-star-aussie-romp