Scotland stun Wallabies in the wet

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 14:48
Large higginbotham 630

Scotland have shocked Australia in awful wet conditions with a 9-6 victory thanks to a last-gasp penalty from flyhalf Greig Laidlaw.

Scotland have shocked Australia in awful wet conditions with a 9-6 victory thanks to a last-gasp penalty from flyhalf Greig Laidlaw in Newcastle at Ausgrid Stadium.

Wow! What a finish! What a shock finish! What a result!

The Scots who went the whole Six Nations without a win and a woodenspoon their unhappy 'achievement', went down to Australia for a midweek match on their way to warm islands, regarded as cannonfodder and they won.  It is one of rugby football's shock result when 12 on the IRB's rankings beat 2. In injury time the cannonfodder fired over a victory penalty into the wind and the rain.

The Scots did have advantages. They were rested as they had not played for a while and had had plenty of time to prepare. The Wallabies broke off Super Rugby brutality for two quick training sessions and into a Test. The result is a warning to all Southern men playing host to Northern invaders.

It was the first Test ever in Newcastle north of Sydney and what a miserable night it was. The rain belted down, driven by a powerful wind, and it was cold.

It was thought that the weather would suit the Scots, though it is doubtful how anybody ever gets used to such conditions, and in fact the Wallabies seemed to cope better. They handled much better than the Scots and the Scots threw into line-outs skew three times, the Wallabies none.

The Scots played with the weather in the first half and dominated the half; the Wallabies had the weather in the second half and nearly complete domination of the match - in fact up till those last seconds.

Both sides started the match playing phases. The Wallabies were better at it than the Scots but the Scots were resolute on defence.

The Scots had the first attacking possibility when Ross Rennie burst from a line-out to five metres from the Wallaby line. Ryan Grant was close but the Scots knocked on and the Wallabies cleared.

Kicking clear to their right for the defending team was hard as the merciless wind blew at them.

The Scots lost Sean Lamont early on, replaced by Tom Brown.

Fullback Stuart Hogg kicked an up-'n-under. Will Genia missed the ball which bounced on to the line. Joe Tomane, falling back, grabbed it but Hogg and Brown drove him into his in-goal, forcing a five-metre scrum.

Scott Higginbotham was penalised at a tackle. Of the 18 penalties in the match 14 were at the tackle which is not surprising when the game was played at such close quarters. This one Greig Laidlaw, with the wind, goaled. 3-0 after 22 minutes.

The wind-assisted Scots were enjoying 86% of possession and when Sitaleki Timani was penalised at a tackle, Laidlaw made it 6-0 after 27 minutes.

The Wallabies bashed their way upfield, masters of the pick-'n-drive. They got to two metres from the Scottish line where Alasdair Strokosch was penalised. Mike Harris goaled into the wind. 6-3 after 32 minutes. It was the half-time score.

The Wallabies were pleased at the score for they would have the wind behind them in the second half. Victory, they had reason to believe, was theirs and two minutes into the half they drew level when Rennie was penalised and Harris goaled.

There were 38 minutes to play and not once did the Wallabies add to their score. Harris missed two long-range penalties, they eschewed two close in in the search for tries and Berrick Barnes missed a drop attempt.

After Wallaby bashing from a five-metre line-out, Rob Simmons was over but the TMO was unable to advise a try.

The Wallabies tried being more expansive, including a diagonal kick by Barnes to Digby Ioane. They played wider a bit more, but whatever they did the Scots were firm and unyielding.

With 20 minutes to play, the score was 6-all. With 6 minutes to play, the score was 6-all. Then Harris kicked a penalty from 46 metres out. It skidded low and dead. Then Barnes kicked high but Hogg marked and kicked out. The Wallabies won the line-out with the Scots running at them. Then came a fatal error. Harris, with the wind, kicked downfield. The ball flew and bounced and raced over the dead-ball line. This gave the Scots a scrum just inside the Wallaby 10-metre line. They did pick-'n-drive and got another scrum eight metres from the Wallaby line. The scrum was awarded just before 80 minutes were up.

When the scrum went down, 80 minutes were up. The Scots got the shove on but the scrum collapsed. The referee reset the scrum, saying it was 'the same scrum'. The Scots put the ball in, the Scots got the shove on and the scrum collapsed. The referee penalised the Wallabies.

Into the wind but in front of the posts Laidlaw sent the kick soaring between the upright for a famous Scottish victory.

Man of the Match: Greig Laidlaw, at least for that this kick of his, the kick that will be a part of rugby lore in Scotland.

Moment of the Match: That last penalty.

Villain of the Match: Nobody. It was a match played by sensible sportsmen.


For Australia:
Harris 2

For Scotland:
Laidlaw 3


Australia: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Michael Hooper, 20 Nick Phipps, 21 Pat McCabe, 22 Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Joe Ansbro, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 John Barclay, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Alastair Kellock, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford (captain),1 Ryan Grant.      
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Tom Ryder, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Tom Brown.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Keith Brown (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

By Paul Dobson