Planet Rugby

Scotland shock the Wallabies

Nick De Luca Scotland Australia International Rugby Union

How about that: The Scots acclaim an upset victory at Murrayfield

21st November 2009 19:07


Wycliff Palu on a charge in Scotland

Worrying injury: Wycliff Palu

Scotland caused a major upset at Murrayfield on Saturday as - after some late drama - they won a largely dour encounter 9-8 against Australia.

There was very little to write home about in a Test fixture predicted to act as the Wallabies' ideal tonic after suffering a painful draw in Dublin.

But that was not the case as the gritty Scots managed to pounce on an off night for the tourists, who will also be concerned over Wycliff Palu after the vital number eight was stretchered from the action due to a neck injury.

The loss of Palu looks highly likely to see coach Robbie Deans bring in either George Smith or Richard Brown at the base when they tackle Wales next week.

Australia will also be slightly concerned regarding Matt Giteau's form from the kicking tee after the usually reliable fly-half converted just one attempt from a whole host of opportunities. The one that hurt the most was his wayward conversion shot of Ryan Cross' late try that would have spared the tourists' blushes.

It was the improving Scots' first win over Australia following a tough 27 years, with the filthy weather somewhat reminiscent of their last victory back in 1981.

Giteau was on hand to open the scoring on five minutes however, after home hooker Ross Ford struggled to find his man at lineout time early on.

Then it was the turn of a succession of injury issues for both coaches. Australia were deprived of loosehead Benn Robinson on eighteen minutes for Sekope Kepu, who was also off form in fumbling two simple passes.

Then Scotland captain Chris Cusiter hurt his shoulder with an excellent cover tackle on full-back Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rory Lawson was called into the fray, but not before the Glasgow man saved his side by holding up Stephen Moore.

But the driving maul was one area of dominance for Scotland and it won them a 27th-minute penalty which Godman arrowed between the posts to level matters, completely against the run of play.

Normal service soon resumed, Giteau pulling the strings wonderfully both with the boot and out of hand.

But with four minutes of the half remaining, he was left red-faced after missing a point-blank penalty when Scotland had infringed at a scrum.

Australia ran their next penalty but Giteau was again off-target with a simple drop goal.

Robinson withdrew the under-performing Morrison for Nick De Luca at half-time.

However, a returning Giteau's place-kicking woes continued two minutes after the restart, though his 40-metre miss was more forgivable.

Australia were picking up where they left off and captain Rocky Elsom bulldozed his way over five minutes in. Referee Romain Poite went to the video and, after a succession of replays, the try was not given.

Under all sorts of pressure, Scotland suddenly turned defence into attack when De Luca brilliantly kicked into the space behind, forcing Will Genia to concede a penalty. It was the start of a massive swing in territory.

The remarkable drama continued when Mitchell celebrated a 65th-minute try after more Australia pressure only to be hauled back for a horrible forward pass from Quade Cooper, much to the delight of the Scotland fans before Palu was carried off.

Scotland continued to make crucial tackles inside their own 22 to preserve their lead before replacement Chris Paterson dropped a goal from 25 metres with just four minutes to go.

That sparked the Wallabies to set up camp five metres from the home whitewash and, despite yet more heroic defending, Cross eventually went over in the first minute of stoppage-time to leave Giteau to win the game from wide out. He missed and Scotland claimed a famous victory.

Man of the match: Apologies to the winning team but Australia's utter dominance in terms of possession and territory means Wycliff Palu picks up the accolade for a destructive performance from number eight. Unfortunately, the Waratah left the field under an oxygen mask but he busted so many holes in the Scotland defence that his effort needed recognition.

Moment of the match: An out-of-sorts Matt Giteau missing penalties and a simple drop-goal proved to be the difference at Murrayfield.

Villain of the match: Maybe this is slightly harsh but so as not to let the gong go unassigned, Quade Cooper, after he blew a simple three on two with a long, forward pass out to Drew Mitchell when a simpler option was required.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Pen: Godman 2
Drop: Paterson

For Australia:
Tries: Cross
Pen: Giteau

Scotland: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Chris Cusiter (c), 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 John Barclay, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Alastair Kellock, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Jason White, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Chris Paterson, 22 Nick De Luca.

Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Peter Hynes, 13 Digby Ioane, 12 Quade Cooper, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 George Smith, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 James Horwill, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Ryan Cross, 22 James O'Connor.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Jérôme Garces (France)
Television match officials: Graham Hughes (England)
Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

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