Scotland end drought with memorable win over Australia

Scotland dug deep to pull off a 24-19 victory and end a run of close defeats against Australia in a gripping rugby union international in Sydney.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Scotland's captain John Barclay holds the trophy as he celebrates with team mates.

Scotland beat Australia for the first time in more than four years on Saturday, winning 24-19 in Sydney to avenge two consecutive narrow defeats, including a controversial World Cup exit.

Both teams scored three tries apiece but accurate goal kicking and strong defence in the last quarter saw Scotland secure victory in front of 30,721 fans.

It was Scotland's first win against the Wallabies since 2012 and ends a run of three straight defeats by Australia, including the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal loss that was decided by a last minute Bernard Foley penalty contentiously awarded by referee Craig Joubert.

"I'm really proud of the effort the players put it in. The last 15 minutes were fresh in our minds, so it required a lot of effort," said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend. 

It was a triumph for captain John Barclay, who has been on the wrong end of close recent results against Australia. 

"For some reason whenever we've played each other in the last couple of years it's been very close. For us it's nice to end up on the right side of it," Barclay said. 

Scots dominate much of the match

Scotland led for much of the match, enjoying a five-point lead at the half-time interval. 

Early Scottish dominance of the ball saw them score the first try of the match as they punished an Australian error. 

Although Australia secured a turnover, a terrible pass from scrum-half Will Genia gave his team mate little chance and the ball landed straight into the arms of Scottish centre Duncan Taylor, who raced away to score the first try of the match.

Australian momentum eroded

Australia, however, responded quickly as Foley found Israel Folau in space to free the full-back to race clear for his 23rd international try.

Australian momentum was quickly eroded though when Foley was sin-binned for obstructing a Scottish breakaway. 

Scotland made their numerical advantage count, but in surprising circumstances as Scotland fly-half Finn Russell charged down a Genia box-kick, before grounding the ball under the posts.

Again Australia struck back. Folau got his second try shortly before half-time after climbing above Scottish winger Rory Hughes to claim a cross field kick from Foley to bring Australia within striking distance at the break.

It looked Australia would again win a close encounter, especially when a Genia try saw Australia level after sustained Wallaby procession.

"I thought we were half-a-yard away from the game all the match," Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies