Thursday 14 December 2017

Laidlaw the hero as Scotland stun Wallabies


GREIG LAIDLAW landed a penalty with the last kick of the match in Newcastle, New South Wales, to give Scotland one of the most improbable victories of recent seasons and end an embarrassing run of seven consecutive defeats.

"Back-to-back victories against Australia for a Scotland team is immense," said coach Andy Robinson after watching his side yield 67pc possession and 68pc territory to the home side in appalling conditions.

Backed by a howling gale, Scotland built a 6-3 interval lead through two Laidlaw penalties.

Two moments of sloppy handling in the opening half saw try-scoring opportunities squandered following breaks by Ross Rennie and Sean Lamont.

With the wind in their favour on the restart, Australia , who, with an eye on Saturday's Test against Wales, fielded five debutants, set up camp in Scotland's '22,' but they failed to breach their opponents' line. Scotland missed just three of 132 tackles -- the outstanding Rennie making 24 of them.

Australia second-row Rob Simmons did pile over amid a heap of bodies midway through the half, but could not ground the ball.

Mike Harris' second penalty tied the score and Scotland were hanging on, with clearing kicks frequently swirling back towards them.

But in the closing minutes Laidlaw made a break and a series of drives and scrums took the tourists towards their opponents' '22'. The 80 minutes were done when in one final scrum, referee Jaco Peyper penalised the Australian front-row for taking it down and Laidlaw did the rest.

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