Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
New Zealand New Zealand
France France

Fans view - Scotland's demolition job

By RugbyPass
Stuart Hogg

We sent Scotland fan Iain Mundy along to Murrayfield on Saturday to witness their momentous win over the Wallabies. Here’s his match report.

ADVERTISEMENT

This is not a drill, Scotland have just put 50 points on the Wallabies!

Scotland thundered to a record eight-try 53-24 win over Australia at Murrayfield in their final test of 2017. Many Scotland fans, myself included, have dreamt of such scores over the last few years against far lesser teams, only to have that crushing feeling when the final whistle goes that Scotland fans know all too well. Little did we know what was to follow that November afternoon.

The week long build-up to Scotland’s autumn series finale against Australia had been a slightly strange affair, with the weight of expectation once again heavy on the shoulders of the entire nation. Such build-ups had made me uncomfortable in recent years, especially after the highly-billed Six Nations clash with England earlier in the year which I do not speak of. A little part of me feared it would be a similar story at the hands of New Zealand last weekend, but not anymore – not this Scotland side. Despite the late withdrawal of Alex Dunbar through injury resulting in the inclusion of in-form Glasgow centre Pete Horne (cue the doubters), I genuinely felt confident ahead of this one, even with a frightening Australian line-up. My faith was well-placed.

Scotland suffered the worst possible start before the match had even kicked off, with Stuart Hogg sustaining a hip injury in the warm-up. Sean Maitland moved from the wing to full-back on his return to the national side, while Byron McGuigan earned his first start for his country on Maitland’s vacant wing.

The hosts lacked discipline and gave away a couple of cheap penalties in the first couple of minutes. Reece Hodge went for the sticks on the second such occasion but his first attempt on goal strayed wide. Australia piled on the pressure in the early stages, but Scotland cleared their lines then won a penalty through a thunderous 20 metre maul in the midfield. Finn Russell boldly went for the corner, but was too greedy and the ball went dead.

Murrayfield really came to life with some brilliant hands from the forwards and a couple of bursts from new cap McGuigan, and after a sustained period of pressure which had the Aussies scrambling, Russell put the hosts three points to the good with a penalty in front of the posts.

The first try came in the 17th minute when McGuigan booted a loose ball downfield from the halfway line, and showed some incredible football skills to touch down in the corner for Scotland. Russell added the extras to bring up ten points.

ADVERTISEMENT

McGuigan came oh so close again when the Scots broke from halfway and he found himself in a race with Will Genia to score his second try in as many minutes, but much to the home crowd’s dismay the Aussie was judged to have gotten back first to touch down.

The visitors enjoyed a better subsequent spell of possession, and after some decent Scottish defending Foley put a little grubber through which caught the hosts napping, with Kuridrani touching down against seemingly his favourite country to score against, judging by his strike rate against Scotland over the years. It was disaster for Scotland two minutes later when Foley intercepted a fumbled pass from Seymour and put Kuridrani in for his second try in quick succession.  Foley missed his second of the two conversions, leaving the Aussies with a slender two point lead.

Drama struck in the final minute of the first half when a horrendous charge on Hamish Watson at the breakdown saw Sekope Kepu’s match ending before half-time with a red card. The Scots wasted no time in capitalising and after a driving maul from the resulting penalty, Ali Price sniped round the corner to reach out and score with the final play of the half. Finn Russell nailed the tricky conversion to give Scotland a 17-12 lead at half time.

Despite the man advantage, Scotland conceded first in the second half. After 20 phases of battering the Scottish line Kurtley Beale scored the try that brought the visitors level, with Foley fluffing the simple conversion.

ADVERTISEMENT

The next few minutes were a whirlwind, and after Australia looked to be through the ball found its way into the hands of Sean Maitland who sprinted 60 metres to score in the corner, beating a lot of tired Australian forwards along the way. Russell missed the difficult conversion but the Scots were on a roll and after newly-introduced Jamie Bhatti scythed through a 14-man Australia from the restart, Jonny Gray found himself free to waltz under the posts several phases later. This stretched their lead to 12 points after Russell’s simple conversion.

Unbelievably Scotland went in again just five minutes later. It was raining tries when a quick tap from Russell left Huw Jones with a three on one against, but Scotland’s golden boy slipped through Kuridrani’s grasp to put the hosts 17 points up after the conversion drifted wide.

Everything was going right for Scotland, they were dominating the Australian forwards, and the backs were playing an extraordinarily quick brand of rugby, so when McGuigan scored his second try of the match on 60 minutes Scotland were in dreamland. Not a good end to Australia legend Stephen Moore’s international career, but the Murrayfield crowd gave him a standing ovation when he took his leave for the last time.

Scotland franticly tried to keep playing with tempo, but Australia clawed one back from close range through substitute Lopeti Timani, with the conversion keeping them in the contest.

Scotland captain John Barclay ended that contest five minutes from time, battering his way through three defenders after an ominous onslaught from the Scottish forwards, no less than the Scotland skipper deserved.

As the light faded at Murrayfield, the 67,000 capacity crowd brought their team home with a spine-tingling rendition of Flower of Scotland, and after Beale was yellow carded for intentionally slapping the ball out of play, a thunderous Scottish maul led to a late Stuart McInally try which saw the hosts hit 50 and the referee blow the final whistle.

Now as Scotland set their sights on the Six Nations, they can truly start to believe. Over the last couple of years Vern Cotter, Gregor Townsend, and now Dave Rennie at Glasgow have instilled belief in this squad of players. They’ve got the skills, they’ve got the mentality, and after this series we’ve learned something new. Scotland now have something they haven’t possessed in a long time, they now have strength in depth.

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

USER NOTICE:

As part of a series of planned improvements, we will need you to reset your RugbyPass password from 24/07/24 to continue commenting on articles.

You don’t need to change anything until that time.

Thank you,

Comments

0 Comments
Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

FEATURE
FEATURE Naturally loud and incredibly fast: Brazil bring fiesta rugby to Paris Naturally loud and incredibly fast: Brazil bring fiesta rugby to Paris
Search