Donaldson helps end Jones' winless Australia run

Ben Donaldson (R) only made his Australia debut in November (Miguel MEDINA)
Ben Donaldson (R) only made his Australia debut in November (Miguel MEDINA)

Australia full-back Ben Donaldson scored 25 points to help earn a first win in six games under Eddie Jones as they beat Georgia 35-15 in their Rugby World Cup opener on Saturday.

Donaldson, 24, making just his fourth Test appearance, ensured former England and Japan coach Jones ended his poor run of results since returning as boss in January and started their Pool C campaign on a positive note.

"We've been building for a long time now and the boys executed really well for the full 80 minutes," Donaldson said.

"In the end it made me look half-decent so I put that on all the boys."

Flanker Luka Ivanishvili had given Georgia hopes of a late comeback with a second-half try but the Lelos failed to claim a sixth victory in the competition.

Jones, 63, brought back winger Marika Korobeite and inside centre Samu Kerevi into his side after injury absences.

The two-time World Cup winners opened the scoring after less than two minutes as Kerevi's midfield partner Jordan Petaia crashed over in front of more than 75,000 spectators in Paris.

Donaldson missed the conversion, having been handed the goal-kicking duties from fly-half Carter Gordon, who missed 10 points from the tee in last month's warm-up loss to France, in the same ground.

Gordon's negative experience at the Stade de France continued five minutes into this game as he was penalised for a dangerous tackle after having had his clearance kick charged down and opposition fly-half Luka Matkava cut the deficit to 5-3.

- On-form Petaia -

Four minutes after crossing, 23-year-old Petaia turned provider as his subtle offload set up winger Mark Nawaqanitawase.

Donaldson made up for his earlier error to make it 18-3 with a conversion and two penalties before the first water break of the game, with the temperature reaching 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).

Petaia proved his worth in defence after 22 minutes with a dominant tackle on Georgia winger Miriani Modebadze before Donaldson made it 21-3 after half an hour with a fourth three-pointer.

With five minutes of the half remaining Jones lost his influential starting scrum-half Tate McDermott to concussion, with experienced Nic White coming on.

Kerevi's work for the day was done as he was replaced by Lalakai Foketi at the interval and it was Georgia who started the second half the better.

They were rewarded as flanker Ivanishvili crossed in the corner from a delightful Matkava pass, cutting out three would-be defenders.

Matkava missed the conversion but it failed to dampen his team-mates’ wild celebrations with the score 21-8 with half an hour to play.

Georgia's dim hopes of a win were short-lived as Donaldson added a converted try, assisted by prop Taniela Tupou on his 50th Test appearances, with 25 minutes to play to make it 28-8.

With a quarter of the game remaining Petaia followed Kerevi to the bench, with next Sunday’s game with Fiji on Jones’ mind, before the Waratahs’ Donaldson claimed his double and the bonus point for his side in an impressive display.

Donaldson was named man of the match as Georgia found a consolation try through replacement Beka Gigashvili.