Australia v Scotland – Newcastle NSW


Australia 6 Scotland 9

What a night for a game of rugby. A full on storm was in progress, the rain absolutely poured down in the first half and Australia played into a head wind. Phil Kearns said he had never seen conditions like it for a test in Australia.

Australia had a number of players unavailable through injury and knocks picked up in the weekends Super Rugby fixtures. Wallabies coach Robbie Deans fielded 5 debutants in the run on side.

Will Genia put up an early high kick and it went back over his head, so strong was the wind. All the players were soaked through within 10 minutes.

Wallabies v Scotland Newcastle NSW

Wallabies face Scotland in terrible conditions in Newcastle NSW

Scotland put on a lot of pressure and had several opportunities to score in the first half, but a lot of ball was dropped due to the conditions. They were able to convert two penalties and Australia pulled one back on 35 minutes.

The second half started dry, but gale force winds were blowing and the uprights could be seen wobbling significantly when Michael Harris took his early penalty shot from distance, which amazingly he managed to convert and level the scores

The driving rain returned, Harris missed his next penalty attempt from halfway, not quite making the distance, despite having the wind behind him. Australia dominated possession and went over the line, only for the ball to be held up

Australia kept up the pressure and camped on the Scottish line. But Scotland defended stoically. Will Genia could be seen shivering when waiting to put the ball into the scrum. I know how the outside backs would have felt, having played many a game in English winter conditions, standing cold and lonely on the wing while the forwards played 9 man rugby.

With 10 mins to go, despite the Wallabies having spent almost all of the second half inside the Scottish 22 the scores were still locked at 6-6. Berrick Barnes missed an attempted drop goal. This was the right option, as Australia had not been able to breakdown the Scottish defence. Harris had another penalty attempt just inside the Scots half and almost put it under the bar this time.

By virtue of an overcooked Wallaby kick, that went over the dead ball line, Scotland spent the last few minutes in the Australian half. A drop goal was expected to try and pick up a last minute win. A series of Scottish scrums resulted in a penalty on the Aussie 22. Laidlaw converted and gave Scotland an unexpected win, their first in Australia in 30 years

Australia lost to Samoa in their debut international last year. So we know they can turn it around. They face Wales in Brisbane on Saturday.

Wales are in fact a much tougher prospect than Scotland, having won this years Six Nations tournament where Scotland finished last. But there will be several changes to the Wallabies side and hopefully conditions in Brisbane will be much kinder.

 

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