The Wallabies won their opening Pool C match against Georgia 35-15 at Stade de France.
The Wallabies have started their 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign with a bonus-point victory over Georgia in front of a sell-out crowd in Paris.
Over 75,000 fans filed into the Stade de France to watch Australia score four tries on the way to a comfortable 35-15 victory over a gallant Georgian side.
Fullback Ben Donaldson had a breakout performance at the back, contributing 25 points including two tries on the way to being named Player of the Match.
Two unanswered tries (one converted) and three penalty goals saw the Wallabies build a 21-3 lead at the half-time break to set up the victory and ultimately secure the important bonus point.
"When you've got a young team, haven't been doing well and getting criticised, you can go into your shell a little bit – but I thought they came out in the first half and put a conclusive performance together," said Wallabies coach Eddie Jones.
Whilst Georgia showed some fight with a pair of tries, a second-half double to Donaldson was enough to close out the game.
"We had a game plan. We've been building for a long time now and the boys executed really well for the full 80 minutes. In the end, it made me look half-decent so I put that on all the boys," Donaldson said.
The Wallabies started as hot as the Stade de France conditions when Mark Nawaqanitawase nailed a 50-22 inside the first minute.
From the resulting line-out, outside centre Jordan Petaia barged over the line for the opening try.
The combination of Petaia and Nawaqanitawase caused plenty of trouble for the Georgians, linking up for the second try of the match when Petaia’s flick pass found the winger in space.
Donaldson kept the scoreboard ticking over with three first-half penalty goals as the Australian backline constantly broke the line.
The only downside for the Wallabies in the first half was a head knock to vice-captain Tate McDermott that saw the scrum-half replaced by Nic White, and likely to be ruled out of next week’s clash with Fiji.
The Wallabies took a 21-3 lead into the break and started the second half with the numbers advantage when Mirian Modebadze was yellow carded for a cynical foul.
It didn’t faze the Georgians, scoring almost immediately after the break thanks to flanker Luka Ivanishvili.
As Georgia started to build momentum, the senior Wallabies stood up.
Captain Will Skelton blew up a maul on the Australian try-line - just one of several turnovers for the lock.
Prop Taniela Tupou produced a strong performance in his 50th Test, capped off when he intercepted a Georgian counter-attack, before steaming upfield and popping a floating, over-the-shoulder pass onto the chest of Donaldson for the fullback to run in for his first try.
Donaldson sealed the win when he latched onto a perfect cutout ball from Carter Gordon to dive over beside the posts.
An incredible try-saver from Nawaqanitawase capped off another impressive game from the winger, jolting the ball loose from the grasp of the Georgians to help seal the Wallabies’ first win of 2023.
"Eddie asked us at the start of the week to have a fast start. We prepared really well for this game and I'm happy with the result," said captain Will Skelton.
The Wallabies travel south to Saint-Etienne on Sunday, where they will set up camp for their final three pool games against Fiji, Wales and Portugal.
[Tries: Petaia, Nawaqanitawase, Donaldson 2; Cons: Donaldson 3; Pens: Donaldson 3] Georgia 15 [Tries: Ivanishvili, Gigashvili; Con: Abzhandadze; Pen: Matkava]
Australia: 15 Ben Donaldson, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Tom Hooper, 5 Will Skelton (captain), 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Matt Faessler, 17 Blake Schoupp, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Rob Leota, 20 Langi Gleeson, 21 Nic White, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu.
Georgia: 15 Davit Niniashvili, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Demur Tapladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (captain), 11 Miriani Modebadze, 10 Luka Matkava, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Luka Ivanishvili, 6 Tornike Jalagonia, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Nodar Cheishvili, 3 Guram Papidze, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Nika Abuladze
Replacements: 16 Tengizi Zamtaradze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Beka Gigashvili, 19 Lasha Jaiani, 20 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Tedo Abzhandadze, 23 Giorgi Kveseladze
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)