Russia 12 Ireland 50

Chris Bridge scored 22 points as Ireland made a confident start to their bid for a place in the 2008 World Cup with a nine-try thrashing of Russia in Moscow.

Warrington Wolves stand-off Bridge's haul came from two tries and seven conversions, while Widnes full-back Gavin Dodd scored a hat-trick of tries.

The Irish led 20-4 at half-time and three tries in eight minutes at the start of the second half put the game, which was shown live on the state television sports channel, beyond doubt.

Andy Kelly?s men ? for whom assistant coach Barrie McDermott was in the starting line-up ? had too much experience and guile for the Russians, who had Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens acting as consultant.

Ireland?s win set a new record, beating their 43-10 victory over Scotland at Navan two years ago.

Dodd also broke the Irish record for the most tries in a match set by Ian Herron, of Gateshead, against Wales at Swansea in 1999 and equalled by Halifax?s Pat Weisner at Navan.

Bridge?s tally of 22 points beat the previous best of 16 scored by new captain Phil Cantillon against Scotland.

Cantillon opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a typical dart to the posts from five metres out and he added a second try after the break.

Salford City Reds centre Stuart Littler also scored two tries in the opening half while Russia?s tries came from winger Valantin Baskakakov and centres Robert Iliassov and Roman Ovchinnikos.

Ireland?s next match is against Lebanon in Dublin on November 5.