Scotland turned on the style in the second half of their 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B meeting with the USA in Leeds on 27 September. However, Vern Cotter's side certainly did not have things all their own way following an opening 40 minutes in which they were plagued by repeated handling errors.
After AJ MacGinty, Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell had all knocked over penalties in the opening exchanges and Scotland lost the services of lock Grant Gilchrist with a leg injury, the Americans were first to cross the line at Elland Road as 20-year-old Saracens prop Titi Lamositele crashed forward with the help of a fiercely strong pack. Hogg then botched a clear opportunity to retake the lead as his offload to Tim Visser on the run cannoned back off the latter's thigh.
Cotter made 10 changes from the side that halted giant-killers Japan's momentum at Kingsholm in midweek and a lack of fluency before the break was obvious as they gave away another kickable penalty on the stroke of half-time as well as missing two of their own attempts from the tee.
Those hoping for another sizable shock in what is turning out to be an intriguing pool were left disappointed, however. Straight after the restart, Hogg made no mistake in feeding Visser on the left flank and the 100th try of the World Cup followed soon after as Russell showed good determination before teeing up new London Irish signing Sean Maitland. South African-born WP Nel was next to go over for his first Scotland score near the posts and the bonus point was secured when replacement centre Matt Scott relied on his impressive footwork to weave through the defence.
The USA could only register a solitary penalty in the second half and their defeat was compounded late on as Duncan Weir made it five tries in a blistering show of attacking menace. Scotland now sit above South Africa at the summit of Pool B and face Heyneke Meyer's rejuvenated Springboks, who will be without captain Jean de Villiers for the rest of the tournament after he fractured his jaw for a second time during the 46-6 win over Samoa yesterday, in Newcastle next Saturday.
In the day's early kick-off, Australia sent a clear warning to England ahead of their crucial Pool A clash with a ruthless demolition of minnows Uruguay at Villa Park. Michael Cheika's troops can end the hosts' chances of qualification for the quarter-finals with victory at Twickenham and warmed up for that test by running in no fewer than 11 tries in the biggest win of the competition so far.
It took the dominant Wallabies just seven minutes to enforce their superiority, with Sean McMahon coming off the back off an effective driving maul to score. Matt Toomua soon extended the advantage after good work from Quade Cooper and Uruguay, who lost 54-9 to Wales in their opening game and are the second-lowest ranked team in the World Cup ahead of Namibia, registered their only points of the afternoon when fly-half Felipe Berchesi successfully knocked over a penalty from 35 metres after Will Skelton was whistled for a late tackle.
Captaining Australia for the very first time in the absence of Stephen Moore, Dean Mumm was the next to score and his effort was swiftly followed by another from Henry Speight as Australia showed no mercy against a team made up mostly of amateur players. Ben McCalman then added a fifth try to give his side a 31-3 half-time lead.
Toulon's Drew Mitchell, now his country's leading World Cup try scorer, notched a brace in just four second-half minutes, the second of those owing to a fabulous pass from the controversial Cooper who had earlier been sent to the sin-bin for a needless high tackle. Kurtley Beale set up McCalman for his second with 20 minutes remaining and a late flurry from McMahon, Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani secured a 65-3 win and demonstrated Australia's superior fitness levels.