Preview: Wallabies v Scotland - Green and Gold Rugby
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Preview: Wallabies v Scotland

Preview: Wallabies v Scotland

The fiercely competitive Scots travel to Sydney to throw down against the Wallabies fresh off their victory over the Fijians.

Another weekend, another afternoon rugby fixture appeasing rugby purists everywhere. Scotland will be out to avenge their last two heart breaking losses at the hands of the  Wallabies while the home team will want to bury their loss to the Scots last time they played them in Australia.

First Heart Break For Scotland

First Heart Break For Scotland

Australia

Australia comfortably defeated Fiji last weekend (37-14) and while that might have been expected, it at least gives the men in gold some momentum going into this match. Presumably with this in mind Michael Chieka has named a near identical team to take on Scotland.

The only change in the forwards is Scott Sio replacing Toby Smith on the bench. In the backs Eto Nabuli has joined starting the team, debuting in place of injured winger Henry Speight. One could argue about how deserving he is of his position, but seeing he was working as a luggage porter in Fiji only a few years ago it’s hard not to wish him well.

Scotland

The Scots are fresh from a six nations campaign where they beat fancied rivals Ireland and Wales. While the results themselves are impressive, the manner of play has also stood out. Gregor Townsend has instilled a fast paced attacking style reminiscent of his own play for the national side.

With the Lions tour underway the Scotland are down two class players in scrum half/referee Greig Laidlaw and dual six nations player of the tournament full back Stuart Hogg.

Last weekend saw the Scots comfortably win (13-34) over an understandably underdone Italian side in Singapore. While it’s hard to read to much into that result it should give the Thistles some match fitness and acclimatisation they might otherwise lack.

Coming into the 23 will be tackling machine Jonny Gray who was rested against Italy. Townsend said “We’ve managed him for a reason to make sure he’s ready to go for this game,”. His giant older brother (Richie Gray) is currently injured.

Grieg Tonks comes into fullback straight from second tier English rugby team London Irish. He’s joined by Lee Jones and Rory Hughes in an all new back three boasting thirteen caps between them.

Second Heart Break for Scotland

Second Heart Break for Scotland

Key Matchups

Finn Russell vs Bernard Foley

Fly half Finn Russell is a big reason for Scotland’s recent success at attacking rugby. Not afraid to throw flicks, around-the-back passes and cheeky chips, Russell’s skills and ability to read the game will be key.

Although slightly less flamboyant, Foley is just as crucial to successful attacking play by the Wallabies. If he gets plenty of clean ball, tries will come.

Both had two try assist in their last outings and whoever is the more influential on Saturday will likely be victorious.

Bernard Foley leaves Mike Brown to eat dirt at Suncorp Stadium

Bernard Foley will be key.

Michael Hooper v Hamish Watson

Cut from a similar cloth these two opensides play ten kilograms heavier than they look. Both are excellent at making meters with the ball in hand and animals in defense.

Hooper didn’t have a great game by his standards against Fiji but he rarely does that twice in a row. Ever the big game player, I assume he will be out to have a big one.

Watson probably has the edge with his over the ball skills. A proper jackal might unsettle the men in gold, especially as they seemed lacking in that aspect against Fiji.

Michael Hooper's due for a big performance.

Michael Hooper’s due for a big performance.

Prediction

Five of the last six tests between these two have been decided by six or less points, so we should expect a tight affair. If the forecast rain is substantial the Scots are a real chance. If the track stays dry I think the Wallabies have too much firepower, especially given the raw nature of the Scottish back three.

Wallabies by 12.

Australia

1. Tom Robertson (8 Tests)
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (69 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (10 Tests)
4. Sam Carter (14 Tests)
5. Adam Coleman (10 Tests)
6. Ned Hanigan (1 Test)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (66 Tests)
8. Scott Higginbotham (33 Tests)
9. Will Genia (76 Tests)
10. Bernard Foley (43 Tests)
11. Eto Nabuli*
12. Karmichael Hunt (1 Test)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (46 Tests)
14. Dane Haylett-Petty (15 Tests)
15. Israel Folau (53 Tests)

Replacements
16. Stephen Moore (118 Tests)
17. Scott Sio (30 Tests)
18. Sekope Kepu (78 Tests)
19. Rory Arnold (10 Tests)
20. Richard Hardwick (1 Test)
21. Joe Powell (1 Test)
22. Quade Cooper (68 Tests)
23. Reece Hodge (11 Tests)

* Indicates uncapped players

Scotland

1. Gordon Reid
2. Fraser Brown
3. Zander Fagerson
4. Ben Toolis
5. Jonny Gray
6. John Barclay
7. Hamish Watson
8. Ryan Wilson
9. Ali Price
10. Finn Russell
11. Rory Hughes
12. Duncan Taylor
13. Alex Dunbar
14. Lee Jones
15. Greig Tonks

Replacements
16. Ross Ford
17. Alan Dell
18. Willem Nell
19. Tim Swinson
20. Josh Strauss
21. Henry Pyrgos
22. Ruardin Jackson
23. Matt Scott

 

Venue: Allianz Stadium Sydney

Kickoff:  3pm local time, Saturday 17th June.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

  • Bobas

    Great write up!

    Zander Fagerson, what a name!

    • BadAtCricket

      You mean “Zander James Ragnar Fagerson”

      He has a brother who also plays for Glasgow (back row). His name is…


      Matt

      Go figure :)

      • Bobas

        Matt Fagerson

  • BadAtCricket

    Technically it was Vern Cotter who instilled the spirit and style into the Scotland team for the Six Nations games. Townsend has only been in charge since the end of the domestic season i.e. for the recent game against the Italians.

    • Pedro

      Fair enough. Although Townsend was the attack coach for Cotter.

      • BadAtCricket

        No he wasn’t – that was Jason O’Halloran. Townsend’s done some good stuff wth Glasgow, mind you.

        • Pedro

          Yeah you’re right. I read world cup attack coach and thought he’d been there since then. That was 2011, my bad.

        • BadAtCricket

          This is very much a voyage of discovery as far as Scotland are concerned. Big Vern got binned primarily because Townsend’s contract was up and the Scottish Rugby Union were worried he would vanish off to France, never to return. Quite how – or if – Toonie will bed in to the post is an unknown. I guess we’ll know a bit more by this time tomorrow.

        • Nutta

          Belt yourself Pedro. You bad bad man.

  • Andy

    Anyone’s seen the ticket prices for this game? Absolutely scanderlous.

    • Pedro

      They’re not conducive with a sell out.

      • Nutta

        A good sales manager I used to work with always talked of every 1% drop in price attracted 2% lift in sales. So give them a cheaper seat, get the bodies in and get it back on on pies, beers, caps and tee-shirts. Not hard…

        • first time long time

          Especially if you want to attract sponsors and generate interest amongst telecasters!

          Why aren’t they going to primary schools and giving away 10000 tickets, 2 to each kid so an adult goes as well, spending bucket loads on over priced beer, chips and calypos and filling the joint.

          They can’t see past the initial cash grab

        • Brisneyland Local

          Gee Nutta, you know some really bright people!

        • Nutta

          As my old dad was known to say ‘Ya got two ears and one mouth Boy. So listen twice as much as ya speak. Then you’ll learn something!’

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sounds like your old man and my old man went to the same school of hard knocks and the kindergarten of getting the shit kicked out of them!

        • Nutta

          And I’m reasonably certain they did their back-handing best to see us educated the same way!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep! Remember it well.

        • Pedro

          Agreed and the single unit cost of a seat must be extremely low.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    Anyone know the how likely rain is? Mind you, rain isn’t such a bad thing as it forces us to learn how to play accordingly.

    Here’s hoping the boys don’t become scared of losing to Scotland, who won’t be a push over, and essentially shoot themselves in the foot through fear of having a crack.

    • Pedro

      It’s 50%. So not dry but probably not a mud bath.

      • first time long time

        But the weather man is right 50% of the time so anywhere between 25% and 100% ; )

    • Adrian

      I have 2 weather aps. One says 50%, one says 90%.
      Early morning rain, then clear, then rain from 1.00

      As a local, I think it will be light rain and the ground a bit soft, but certainly not soggy.

      I reckon 9.5 start, not 13.5 that bookies were offering

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Many thanks Gents. We just need to deal with what ever Mother Nature throws at us.

        I’m reliably informed that there’s some Scottish DNA in this old carcass of mine, so maybe that’s why I’ve a soft spot for the Scots. Here’s hoping for a good game from both teams, and may the better team take the biscuits.

  • Adrian

    The players picked are all good handlers, and will run it well in dampish conditions.

    Scotland may see the rain and play wet weather football prematurely…. I hope so anyway

    • Pedro

      Yeah the conditions are likely similar to what the tahs have had all season, so unless it pours the weather’s not going to be a decisive factor.

  • Brumby Runner

    So, if the scrum in the photo above is any indication, the ref will need to keep a close look on the Scottish LHP – already boring in at a 45 degree angle while the whole of the Wallabies’ scrum is pointing straight. These British sides just can’t help themselves, can they?

    • Pedro

      I’m more concerned about where their halfback is allowed to stand.

    • Who?

      Scottie Sio must be stoked to see that Nel’s on the bench for his return match!

  • What is the expected contribution of the referee?
    It seems to me the hemisphere he (it’s still OK to say ‘he” I presume) hails from might well be significant.
    Any thoughts?
    PS : I wasn’t questioning Wayne Barne’s sexuality, but referring to referees adjudicating NH v SH games.

    • Pedro

      He’s generally well respected, with Wallaby opponents more commonly questioning his adjudication. See FTLT’s post.

  • first time long time

    Very happy Wayne Barnes is reffing, always seems to be a good game of rugby when he’s in charge.
    Despite the drivel about him from across the ditch.
    Oh and of course I don’t think we’ve lost a game when he has been ref!!!!!

  • Greg

    Thanks for the preview.

    A small typo above “faced paced” or else I am not up to date with the latest lingo….

    • Pedro

      It was meant to say “face paste”, but I decided to go with your interpretation.

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