Planet Rugby

Laidlaw kick floors Wallabies

05th June 2012 09:18

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Greig Laidlaw celebrates Australia v Scotland

Late penalty: Greig Laidlaw

Scotland retained the Hopetoun Cup on Tuesday after recording a last-minute 9-6 triumph over Australia in terrible weather at Hunter Stadium.

An 80th minute Greig Laidlaw penalty sparked mass celebrations from the touring side, who made it back-to-back wins over the Wallabies.

But it wasn't pretty in Newcastle, a host venue that became the tenth Australian city to host a rugby international. This was shocking weather for it.

Scotland entered the game in the knowledge they had claimed the spoils the last time these two met. And because of the inclement weather it seemed a similar scoreline to either side was likely in their June opener, with Australia readying themselves ahead of this weekend's three-Test opener with Wales while Scotland were set to go on to Fiji on June 16 and Samoa on June 23.

The rain wasn't the only hampering issue in Newcastle as a strong wind - favouring the visitors in the first-half - meant territory was going to be in one country's corner either side of the break. Subsequently the Scots were in the ascendancy for most of the first 25 minutes.

A couple of Laidlaw penalties from his three attempts in the first 40 saw Andy Robinson's side take a 0-6 lead after half-an-hour, with the Wallabies struggling to get out of their half. But when they did enjoy a rare piece of possession and looked to kick out through the sheets of rain, the wind then promptly pulled them backwards. It was tough work.

But they did get on the board from a rare foray into opposition territory when New Zealand-born debutant Mike Harris sent over his first Test points seven minutes before the break.

That was how the score remained going into the break as Scotland took a slim advantage into the sanctuary of a dry changing room. They knew Australia would come hard though in the second-half as it would be now be the hosts enjoying the gale force wind at their backs.

And so it was as the Wallabies returned in much better form and promptly set up camp in the opposition half, picking and going on numerous occasions as Scotland did well to hold them out. They did get some reward for their efforts however when Harris levelled swiftly.

When replacement lock Rob Simmons was ruled not to have grounded the ball after several drives to the line from Australia, it seemed the Scots had weathered the storm. Indeed they had as, with only the dying embers of the game left, they set about having one last assault.

It paid off too as referee Jaco Peyper blew for an offence at the breakdown and Laidlaw stepped up to seal a workmanlike and much-needed win after what was a poor Six Nations.

Man-of-the-match: It was going to be Scotland openside Ross Rennie for 24 tackles made and zero being missed, but that was before the 80th minute. Well done Greig Laidlaw.

The scorers:

For Australia:
Pen: Harris 2

For Scotland:
Pen: Laidlaw 3

Australia: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Michael Hooper, 20 Nick Phipps, 21 Pat McCabe, 22 Adam Ashley Cooper.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Joe Ansbro, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 John Barclay, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Alastair Kellock, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Tom Ryder, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Tom Brown.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Keith Brown (New Zealand)

By Adam Kyriacou

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