The Wallabies named an unchanged forward pack for their match against Scotland. That’s the good news. Now for the bad. They lost one centre to injury, another suspended by the IRB, and six others from last week squad were suspended by management. Can Australia meld a functioning backline from the players left? Can Scotland improve on their ordinary displays this Autumn?
The Wallabies showed their intent from the first ruck by driving the Scots off the ball and regaining Quade Coopers kick off. The Wallabies tried to dominate the ruck and maul area in the opening stages but penalties at the breakdown cost them as Scotland lead the game 6-3 after 20 minutes.
Israel Folau ran 25 metres off a inside ball from Cooper to score a converted try beside the posts but the Australia continued to leak ruck penalties and Scotland were still well in the match at half time trailing by one point 12 – 13. They had one clear chance to score in the first half with a long break after some poor ruck defence from the Wallabies but Folau saved the day with a tackle inches away from the Wallaby try line.
After the break the Wallabies had their own chance at a long range. Chris Feauau-Sautia finished the move after good work from Cooper, Folau and Moore put him away down the right touch line. Rob Simmons then spoilt a his good game by throwing a punch at a ruck a received 10 minutes in the bin for his troubles.
At the 60 minute mark the Wallabies had managed to stretch their lead to 21 – 15. despite winning the forward battle and the patched up backline functioning reasonable well they hadn’t managed to dominate the scoreboard.
In the final quarter the Scots managed to finally get a little continuity. But their attack was set very deep and the Wallabies had little trouble defending it. The Australians had plenty of chances to put the Scots away but poor kicking from Christian Leali’ifano kept them in the match until the final whistle.
It must have been a very frustrating match for Coach Ewen McKenzie to watch. Improvements in ruck defence and tackling marred by the constant stream of penalties and silly mistakes. Despite the win I think he had plenty to say in the change rooms after the match.
The Talking Point
The wallabies aggressive work at the breakdown was both their strength and weakness. They kept the Scots on the back foot all night but leaked points all night because of it. I have to wonder how good it will be when they get the mixture right.
The G&GR MOTM
I’m going to skip the usual stars tonight and go with Stephen Moore who was everywhere once again. Sometimes when a player performs at an amazing level every week we tend to forget how good they really are.
In the same mould as MOTM Scott Fardy once again showed his value. Israel Folau had another great game as did Quade Cooper. Rob Simmons play has improved this year but his sinbinning took the gloss off his performance. Ben Mowen has his best game in quite a while.
Score & Scorers
[one_half last=”no”]Home Team: 15
Penalties: laidlaw 5/6, Wier 0/1
[one_half last=”yes”]Away Team: 21
Tries: Folau, Feauau-Sautia
Conversions: Leali’ifano 1/2
Penalties: Leali’ifano 3/7[/one_half]
Cards & citings
Yellow Card: Rob Simmons