Sun, Jun 18, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Scotland beat Wallabies in cliff-hanger

GRITTY DEFENSE:Scotland made up for two one-point losses in the past two encounters between the No. 3 and No. 5-ranked sides in the world with a five-point win

AFP, SYDNEY

Australia’s Bernard Foley, center, tries to get the ball to teammate Karmichael Hunt as Scotland players defend at the Sydney Football Stadium yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Scotland dug deep to pull off a famous 24-19 victory over Australia in a gripping rugby union international in Sydney yesterday.

The teams scored three tries each, but Scotland were 17-12 ahead at halftime and, after regaining the lead midway through the second period, held on gamely for the win.

Fifth-ranked Scotland proved the nemesis of the Wallabies, the world No. 3, and won again in Australia after a tryless 9-6 victory on their previous tour there in 2012.

In a tight finish, the Wallabies tried desperately to conjure the converted try needed for victory, but the Scottish defense refused to buckle.

Scotland have given the Wallabies plenty of trouble in recent years and heading into the Sydney Test had gone down by just one point in their previous two meetings.

The Wallabies were their own worst enemies in a ragged first half, gifting Scotland two tries to trail at halftime as Israel Folau replied with two signature tries, making it four in his past two Tests.

Scotland had the better of the early exchanges and fullback Greig Tonks gave them the lead with a long-range penalty goal.

Australia were sloppy in possession and a poor pass from scrumhalf Will Genia to hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was snapped up by inside-center Duncan Taylor, who ran over from 30m.

Flyhalf Finn Russell’s conversion gave the visitors a surprise 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.

The Wallabies hit back minutes later when Bernard Foley found Folau with a huge gap out wide for the fullback to storm over.

Foley’s conversion narrowed the deficit to 10-7 with 20 minutes gone.

However, Scotland again feasted on a Wallabies mistake when the influential Russell charged down Genia’s clearing kick to score another gift try.

Russell converted his try and Scotland were threatening an upset at 17-7 after 27 minutes.

The Wallabies answered with a breathtaking second try for Folau, who easily out-jumped Tonks to score off Foley’s pinpoint cross-field kick to the right wing.

That left the Wallabies trailing 17-12 at halftime, but they returned with more intent and ripped into Scotland with some ferocious tackling.

Stephen Moore replaced Polota-Nau 10 minutes into the second half and Australia hit the front 19-17 when Genia burrowed over for a try from a ruck on Scotland’s try-line after 57 minutes.

However, Scotland roared back with a well-taken try to openside flanker Hamish Watson after winger Lee Jones leaped over an attempted tackle.

Scotland held out the Australia offensive and got a scrum feed when they held up a Wallabies surge deep inside their quarter as the clock ticked down.

Yet another Wallabies opportunity was thrown away when lock Rory Arnold lost the ball in a lineout close to Scotland’s line.

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