Girdler registers sweet 17 as records fall

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The Independent Online

It was always likely to be the biggest mismatch in World Cup history, and when Andrew Johns went over for the try that made it 90-4 after 72 minutes, it became just that. The overhauling of their own 86-6 win over South Africa in the 1995 tournament was just one of the records to fall to Australia: Ryan Girdler's 46 points and 17 goals set new marks for Australia, for the World Cup and for The Boulevard.

It was always likely to be the biggest mismatch in World Cup history, and when Andrew Johns went over for the try that made it 90-4 after 72 minutes, it became just that. The overhauling of their own 86-6 win over South Africa in the 1995 tournament was just one of the records to fall to Australia: Ryan Girdler's 46 points and 17 goals set new marks for Australia, for the World Cup and for The Boulevard.

Russia had little to offer but limitless courage, yet they still won the hearts of the Humberside supporters - the cheers for Russia from the home terraces did not mean that there was a big trawler fleet in town. The local fans were merely following the World Cup tradition of getting behind the underdogs, especially when the overdogs are Australia. There was a particular roar of approval from the Threepenny stand - allegedly built of Russian pine - when Joel Rullis, Australian-born himself, flattened Wendell Sailor with the best tackle of the early stages.

It took less than four minutes for Australia to go ahead, Trent Barrett's pass sending Girdler through a sudden gap. Barrett also supplied the final pass for Adam MacDougall two minutes later.

Igar Gavrilin showed some enterprise and ingenuity for the Russians with a chip-kick that could have bounced more kindly for him. Instead, the play went straight back to the other end, where Barrett yet again laid on the scoring pass for Sailor. Barrett then turned try-scorer, taking a pass flicked-up out of the tackle by his half-back partner, Brett Kimmorley. Australia were on course for a world record, but after 18 minutes the unthinkable happened. Robert Campbell kicked for the corner and another of Russia's Australian emigrés, Matthew Donovan, beat Sailor for the touchdown.

You would have thought that Hull had scored against Leeds. It may have been coincidence, but there were suddenly more fireworks lighting up the sky around The Boulevard and the home mascot, Boris The Black And White Knight, attempted a little Cossack dancing. Such euphoria could not last and normality returned with Bryan Fletcher going over. Russia then defended bravely until Kimmorley's inside pass sent in Shane Webcke.

Kimmorley had now become the main provider, and his pass created Girdler's second try. Matthew Gidley's back- flick produced a second for Sailor and Scott Hill laid one on for Barrett before half-time. Sailor's interception gave him the night's first hat-trick, before the captain for the night, Gorden Tallis, sold a big dummy. That was when it started to get silly, the previously neglected Jason Croker crossing twice in as many minutes.

Nathan Hindmarsh got another and the Russians wasted their only other points- scoring opportunity when Mikhail Mitrofanov missed a penalty. After Johns had the distinction of taking Australia past the World Cup record, Girdler went on to become the highest points-scorer in any match on the ground. Hindmarsh's second try took them to the brink of a century, and Sailor's fourth took them beyond it. Gidley finally eclipsed the 104 points Lebanon scored against Morocco in the most one-sided international ever played - until last night.

Australia: MacDougall, Croker, Girdler, Gidley, Sailor, Barrett, Kimmorley, Webcke, Johns, Kearns, Tallis, Fletcher, Hill. Substitutes used: Gower, Hindmarsh, Vella, Kennedy.

Russia: Mitrofanov, Donovan, Romanov, Iliassov, Shamsoutdinov, Olar, Gavrilin, Rubin, Lysenkov, Campbell, Doulemin, Garifoullin, Rullis. Substitutes used: Kalashkin, Giorgas, Kouchumov, Artaskin.

Referee: S Cummings (England).

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