Wallabies hang tough at Murrayfield
Sat, 23 Nov 2013 19:52
McKenzie on the right track
Australia hung on in the face of some stubborn Scotland resistance to record a 21-15 win at Murrayfield on Saturday.
It was the Wallabies' third successive win on their year-end tour and will give some hope to the Ewen McKenzie fan club that he is indeed ion the right track.
Scotland showed a desire for a scrap that appeared to missing in their shutout against South Africa last week.
However, the home team's line-outs were a mess, with one first-half turnover in the set piece leading to the opening try of the match - to Australia's Israel Folau.
The Wallabies' biggest problem was their lack of discipline, with a string of penalties allowing Greig Laidlaw to keep Scotland in the game.
However, the home team appeared to be a team devoid of ideas, a side relying on brawn rather than brains to dismantle the opposition.
Christian Lealiifano (second minute) and Greig Laidlaw (sixth and 10th minutes) exchanged early penalties.
In the 16th minute Lealiifano was well short with a long-distance effort, before Duncan Weir repaid the compliment two minutes later.
Lealiifano eventually drew his team level in the 23rd minute - a penalty that was accompanied by a warning from the referee against the repeated infringements of the Scottish players.
The opening try came after a mistake by Scotland - with a poor line-out throw handing the Wallabies possession and Israel Folau cutting back on the angle and exposing the brittle Scottish defence to go over. Lealiifano's conversion made it 1`3-6.
However, Laidlaw clawed three points back soon afterwards, with a warning to the Australians accompanying this penalty, and then made it a one-point game with his fourth penalty in the 36th minute.
That is how it stayed to the half-time break.
The second half got underway with another sublime Wallaby try - Israel Folau again injecting himself into the game and then combining with Quade Cooper to put rookie wing Chris Feauai-Sautia over - but not before a couple of reviews by the TMO.
Soon afterwards the Wallabies were down to 14 men, after Rob Simmons was - after a review by the TMO - found to have punched an opponent and sent to the sin bin.
Laidlaw slotted the penalty to make it a three-point game (15-18), before Lealiifano made it a six-point game (21-15) in the 50th minute, after the Scots again struggled to deal adequately with a restart.
Laidlaw missed a long-range shot, before Lealiifano hit the upright as the game headed into the final quarter. Lealiifano missed another two easy kicks - with 15 minutes and five remaining on the clock.
Scotland not only hung in there, but they had a good chance at the end to steal another win over the Wallabies. However, they just did not have the creative ability to unlock the Wallaby defence.
Man of the match: Sean Maitland was a rock in the last line of defence for Scotland and showed some decent attacking form. John Beattie had one monster run, after a great break and worked hard on defence, while Dave Denton had a couple of decent runs that showed why the big No.8 once played on the wing. Captain Kelly Brown was a mixed bag, Greig Laidlaw showed the terrier spirit that lacked a week ago and put Will Genia under significant pressure in the first half. Genia did much better after the break, which made it a big surprise when he was replaced, as he started to dictate the tempo of the game. For Australia James Horwill was again the workhorse of the team, while Michael Hooper put his breakdown skill on display for all to see, but is was on defence where he was most impressive. However, our award goes to Australian fullback Israel Folau, who again showed he was the main strike force in the Wallaby team - not just in terms of his line-breaks, but also his ability to off-load at the right time and put other players into space.
Moment of the match: The Israel Folau try, in the 26th minute, was as much an example of the brittle Scottish defence as it was of the threats posed by Wallaby fullback with the ball in hand. It was also a thing of beauty, both in terms of the timing of the pass and the angle that Folau ran. However, the crucial moment was the Chris Feauai-Sautia try early in the second half - not just because it was such a sublime score, but it gave the Wallabies the impetus they needed.
Villain: This is an award for silliness, rather than nastiness, as Rob Simmons must know that even if you are held back, you should not retaliate - as that could earn you time in the sin bin, which is what happened to him.
Pens: Laidlaw 5
Tries: Folau, Feauai-Sautia
Pens: Lealiifano 3
Yellow card: Rob Simmons (Australia, 48 - foul play, punch)
Scotland: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Dave Denton, 7 Kelly Brown (captain), 6 John Beattie, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Kieran Low, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Max Evans.
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Christian Lealiifano, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nic White, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Bernard Foley.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzere (France) and Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)
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