One match into the Wallabies’ end-of-season tour of the northern hemisphere and already it’s going better than last year’s trip to Europe.
Australia ended a run of three straight losses to Scotland with an attritional 16-15 win at Murrayfield today to start the tourists’ run of five tests against Six Nations opposition.
Trailing 15-6 after an hour, the Australians capitalised on the sin-binning of Scotland replacement lock Glen Young when captain James Slipper barrelled over for the visitors’ only try.
Bernard Foley converted and booted a penalty in the 71st minute to give the Wallabies a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, even if Scotland were handed a golden chance to snatch victory in the final minute.
With a penalty from about 40 metres out and just to the left of the uprights, Scotland flyhalf Blair Kinghorn pulled his kick wide left.
After a 2-1 home series loss to England and another tough Rugby Championship — Dave Rennie’s team lost four of their six matches — it was a welcome start to the Australians’ latest European tour.
In last year’s, they lost to Scotland, England and Wales on successive weekends and have since fallen to No 9 in the world ranking — a shocking drop for a long-time rugby power.
The Scots could pick only home-based players due to the match taking place outside World Rugby’s international window but they still looked well-placed for victory after Kinghorn hacked the ball forward from inside his own half, sprinted to collect it and dropped over the line for a try.
That converted score built on an 11th-minute try from fullback Ollie Smith, which Foley counteracted with two penalties to give Australia a 6-5 halftime lead.
On the hour mark, Jack Dempsey came on for his Scotland debut against the country of his birth, for whom the Sydney-born No 8 made 14 appearances before switching allegiances under World Rugby’s birthright transfer rules thanks to having a Scottish grandfather.
Unfortunately for Dempsey, that was around the time Australia launched their comeback after Young was yellow-carded for a dangerous clear-out on scrumhalf Tate McDermott.