Image Credit: Autumn Nations Series

A try from 21-year-old debutant Ewan Ashman began Scotland up for a hard-fought 15-13 win over Australia at BT Murrayfield

A week after their ten-try victory over Tonga, Scotland faced a Wallaby squad who had won five games in a row before this match.

But, with Hamish Watson having gone over in the first half, hooker Ashman’s second-half score proved decisive as Scotland edged home.

While Rob Leota’s try gave Australia the lead after the break while they were behind 14 points, it was not enough to keep their winning streak alive.

Both teams played at a high speed early on, with Australia’s first opportunity coming when Len Ikitau charged down Finn Russell but then attempted a speculative offload that was intercepted by Matt Fagerson.

Russell’s kicking was a key part of the game early on, and he came agonisingly close to a 50:22 only for Andrew Kellaway to recover and avoid getting into touch himself.

After Sam Skinner was penalised in a ruck, the Wallabies had the first chance to score, but James O’Connor shanked a chance at goal.

After 11 minutes, Scotland’s George Turner was injured, prompting Ashman to make his debut sooner than expected.

Watson scored the game’s first try soon after, finishing off a brilliant lineout move. The ball was given to the back of the line, but it was quickly passed down to Grant Gilchrist, and with the Australian pack out of position, the Scottish pod charged forward and Watson over the line. Russell added an extra point to make the score 7-0.

Tom Wright scored in the right corner for Australia, but Hunter Paisami ruled the try out for a clearout outside the ruck. And with four minutes to go, the Wallabies scored another try, this time from skipper Michael Hooper for Allan Alaalatoa’s bobbing arm, which earned him a clear penalty.

Ironically, Scotland took the chance as soon as Australia was back up to full form.

Taniela Tupou had suffered a head injury just before they scored, and Alaalatoa had the same fate before the hour, forcing James Slipper to take over as tighthead prop while he went for an HIA.

Scotland took full use of their edge in the scrum, and after a few penalty kicks in the set-piece, they took a stunning lead. Despite Perese’s best attempts, the Scots moved through a few phases going right before changing back left, where Ashman finished acrobatically in the corner.

Russell’s penalty kick was unsuccessful, but Scotland led 12-10 start of the fourth quarter.

However, O’Connor knocked over a penalty when Jamie Ritchie was penalised at a breakdown, and the advantage was short-lived.

With 10 minutes to go, Scotland could still rely on the scrum, and Russell gleefully accepted another three-pointer.

In the final stages, both teams threw all they had at it, with a turnover by another debutant, Josh Bayliss, putting an end to Australia’s final attempt to win it.

Autumn Nations Series

Match details

Scotland starting XV: S Hogg (c); D Graham, C Harris, S Johnson, D van der Merwe; F Russell, A Price; P Schoeman, G Turner, Z Fagerson, S Skinner, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, M Fagerson.

Replacements: E Ashman, J Bhatti, O Kebble, J Hodgson, J Bayliss, G Horne, A Hastings, K Steyn.

Australia starting XV: A Kellaway; T Wright, L Ikitau, H Paisami, J Petaia; J O’Connor, N White; J Slipper, F Fainga’a, A Alaalatoa, Ro Arnold, I Rodda, R Leota, M Hooper (c), R Valetini.

Replacements: C McInerney, A Bell, T Tupou, W Skelton, P Samu, T McDermott, K Beale, I Perese.

Yellow card: Alaalatoa

Referee: Romain Poite

Also Read:- England overwhelm Tonga with 11-try thrashing at packed Twickenham


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