These two sides have a nice rivalry going and today would be no different as they continued their run of close finishes but this time it would be Scotland who would come out on top 24-19 in a tough battle at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
It was was a case of poor Wallabies execution combined with immense Scottish defensive pressure at the end of the match that managed to hold out the Wallabies attacking raids and hold on for a five-point win, their first ever in Sydney.
Both sides were keen to show who was the boss early after a big hit from Adam Coleman ruffled the Scots feathers in the opening minute to get crowd and nearly the Aussie bench involved.
Scotland opened the scoring with a long-range penalty to fullback Greg Tonks after just three minutes. The Wallabies had a chance to level almost immediately following a spectacular collision off the restart involving Ned Hanigan but Bernard Foley missed from a handy position.
The Scots looked good in the opening 15 minutes with Finn Russell in particular steering the Scots around as they enjoyed territory in the Wallabies half.
The Wallabies looked to have escaped but a mix up in the backline with Tatafu Polota-Nau saw the Scots pounce and Duncan Taylor collected the ball for an easy run to the line. Russell’s conversion made it 10-0.
The Wallabies finally got on the board with a try to Israel Folau around the twenty-minute mark after a number of penalties went their way. The Wallabies maul looked to be going nowhere but Will Genia spotted a gap and found Foley who passed to Folau in acres of space for a relatively easy run to the line. Foley converted to make it 10-7.
The home side looked good to score again but a poor kick choice on attack got Scotland off the hook. They took advantage of quick 22 and after a chip kick ahead from Russell, Foley turned his shoulder and took him out to earn himself a ten-minute rest from referee Wayne Barnes.
With Foley off the field, the Wallabies looked to clear their lines with a box kick from Will Genia but his kick was charged down by Russell and he only had to catch it and fall over to score their second try of the day. Russell converted his own try for a 17-7 lead.
It seemed the only way the Wallabies could get into the Scottish 22 was on the back off penalties and just before the half time break the Scots went down to 14 men after number 8 Ryan Wilson slowed the ball down with the Wallabies on attack. With another penalty advantage, Bernard Foley kicked to the right wing where Israel Folau jumped about 3 metres and collected the ball above Tonks to score his second try of the game to leave 17-12 in Scotland’s favour at the break.
The second half was a bit of a scratchy start from the Wallabies with a few things not going their way – lineout overthrows in particular – not helping despite having the majority of the ball in the Scotland half.
It took 15 minutes for the home side to start getting good front foot ball that they could use effectively possibly in part due to a number of changes being made that gave a bit more urgency around the breakdown.
With the Wallabies knocking on the door of the Scottish line, Will Genia snuck around the side to catch the defence napping and get the nod from the TMO for the Wallabies third try. Foley converted to give the Wallabies the lead at 19-17.
The lead wouldn’t last for long as the Scottish backs sent it wide to catch the defence stretched and the weight of numbers was too much as Hamish Watson collected the last pass to stroll over and make it 24-19.
The Wallabies went close to leveling as Quade Cooper got involved with some short passing down the left wing with Tevita Kuridrani who found Foley but excellent scrambling defence from Scotland saved them.
With time winding down, the home side had a penalty in good field position but again poor execution at the lineout only metres out allowed an easy out for Scotland.
The Wallabies had another chance to snatch the win and kept hammering the Scottish line but again the defence was immense in their own 22.
Scotland looked to close out the game with pick and drives but gave away a penalty to give the Wallabies one last chance but yet again their defence came up trumps to win the game winning penalty as they held on for a tough 24-19 win.
The Game Changer
In the second half the Wallabies got their noses in front for the first time but Scotland snatched back the lead almost immediately and then left it up to their defence and hang on.
The G&GR MOTM
Plenty in the Scottish side stood up, particularly towards the end with their defence but Finn Russell gets the nod for leading the Scots around the park and even bagging a try for his efforts.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Folau 2, Genia
Conversions: Foley 2
Tries: Taylor, Russell, Watson
Conversions: Russell 3
23 mins – Foley (Australia) – Yellow
39 mins – Wilson (Scotland) – Yellow
Photos by Peter Mitchell