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Michael Cheika's half-time blast pushes struggling Wallabies to warm-up win over USA

Australia struggled in the opening period and only led 14-10 at the break.

Image: Kamil Krzaczynski/AP/Press Association Images

AUSTRALIA WRAPPED UP their World Cup preparations with a 47-10 victory over the United States in a hard-fought Test match at Soldier Field on Saturday.

A largely second string Wallabies side were made to work hard for the win by the American underdogs before running out convincing winners, outscoring their opponents by seven tries to one.

Fly-half Bernard Foley was the top scorer for the Australians, finishing with a 17-point haul with a try and six conversions.

After being held 14-10 at half-time, Australia pulled away with five unanswered second half tries in front of 23,112 fans.

Australia US Rugby Australia's Kurtley Beale, gets to grips with with United States' John Quill, right, during the second half. Source: Kamil Krzaczynski/AP/Press Association Images

Australia coach Michael Cheika voiced satisfaction at the Wallabies second half performance against a physical Eagles outfit.

“I expected nothing else other than a tough battle,” Cheika told reporters. “The USA are very much an improving side. They’re competing with the teams like Samoa, they’re moving up through the rankings.”

Cheika revealed his side improved after a half-time team talk.

There was the odd loud word said, yes. I just think we lost our way with the decision making a bit. I thought the lads improved their detail in the second half.”

It was Australia’s final game before they open their bid for a third World Cup crown against Fiji in Cardiff on September 23.

An entertaining first half saw Australia surge into comfortable early lead, with Foley and scrum-half Nick Phipps both dotting down for converted scores in the opening quarter.

Foley skipped over for the Wallabies first, jinking inside from close range to score under the posts.

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Australia US Rugby Bernard Foley finished the game with a 17-point personal tally. Source: Kamil Krzaczynski/AP/Press Association Images

Phipps’ score came after a superb sweeping move, with captain James Slipper and number eight Wycliff Palu combining to send the scrum-half over for a well-worked score.

With Australia’s scrum dominating the early exchanges, twice driving the Americans back to take put ins against the head, the tourists looked to be firmly in control against their less experienced counterparts.

But after overcoming their early nerves the Americans hit back with a penalty from A.J. MacGinty to reduce the deficit to 14-3 on 21 minutes when Australia were penalised for coming in from the wrong side.

The score lifted the Eagles and it got better after the half hour mark when Ngwenya Takudzwa found himself in space down the right.

The Zimbabwe-born right wing carved open a hole and offloaded to the supporting scrum-half Mike Petri who touched down.

Australia US Rugby Australia's Wycliff Palu offloads as USA full-back Blaine Scully goes in for the tackle. Source: Kamil Krzaczynski/AP/Press Association Images

MacGinty’s conversion made it 14-10 at the break. Australia started the second half as they had done the first, dominating up front and grabbing an early score when a drive from close range resulted in flanker Sean McMahon surging over.

The Wallabies extended the lead to 28-10 towards the end of the third quarter, replacement lock Dean Mumm crashing over after Australia worked the ball through the phases following an attacking line-out.

The United States almost hit back with their second try when Saracens star Chris Wyles burst clear with an interception but just couldn’t make it to the tryline after a lungbursting sprint up field.

But the chance went begging and moments later Australia raced away from deep in their own territory, with fullback Kurtley Beale going over in the corner, Foley adding his fifth conversion of the night to make it 35-10.

Quade Cooper and wing Taqele Naiyaravoro bagged the final scores of the night.

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