Rogers intop form as Australians march on

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The Independent Online

Australia, the World Cup favourites, continued their seemingly unstoppable march to the trophy with a 68-8 demolition of Fiji in their Group One game at Gateshead last night.

Australia, the World Cup favourites, continued their seemingly unstoppable march to the trophy with a 68-8 demolition of Fiji in their Group One game at Gateshead last night.

Winger Mat Rogers ran in four tries, with Ben Kennedy and Ryan Girdler both crossing twice in an awesome display. Rogers also kicked nine goals.

But Fiji showed plenty of spirit and brought the loudest cheers of the night from a cold but enthusiastic Tyneside crowd when they breached the Aussie rearguard to score through Tabua Cakacaka and Lote Tuqiri.

Samoa kept their hopes of a World Cup quarter-final place alive with a last-minute flurry of points to defeat the New Zealand Maori 21-16 in a pulsating Group Four game at Workington's Derwent Park.

The sides were level entering the final seconds but the Samoan scrum-half Willie Swann landed a 30-metre drop goal to edge his team in front. Maori then spilled possession trying to run the kick-off into Samoan territory and full-back Loa Milford raced across the line to ensure a famous victory.

Freddie Banquet scored a try and kicked four goals as France revived their trophy hopes in beating Tonga 28-8 in their Group Three match in Carcasonne.

Claude Sirvent, Amaud Dulac, Jean-Marc Garcia and Pascal Jampy also scored tries as the French bounced back from Saturday's 23-20 loss against Papua New Guinea. David Fisi'iahi scored both tries for Tonga.

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