Australia vs Scotland: Five things we learned

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies couldn't pull off another miracle on Saturday.

What are we talking about after that 24-19 loss?

1. Third time unlucky for Wallabies

There are only so many times you can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and, as it turns out, two might just be the limit. A last-gasp penalty got them over the line in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and a Tevita Kuridrani try made it a second one-pointer at Murrayfield last year. Too many errors, too many missed chances and not enough time turned out to be the Wallabies’ greatest foes. It was another classic, though - the sixth in a row between these teams decided by seven points or less. And we only have to wait five months for another.

2. Folau does he do that?

Israel Folau soared for this take. Photo: WalmsleyIsrael Folau is back in town. The Wallabies fullback had a double by half-time in Sydney and Scotland’s coaches spoke plenty during the week about the danger of the Wallabies’ cross-field kicks to Folau and his aerial talents. It’s one thing to know a threat, though, and a whole other to stop it. His screamer in the final minute before the break would be a Mark of the Year contender in one of his former codes. And boy, did the Wallabies need it.

3. Charge downs a concern

There are tries that you can forgive and tries that will haunt you for a while. Finn Russell’s try off a charge down on Will Genia’s box kick might be one in the latter category for Genia. It was his second charge down of the half, but the first was called back as part of an advantage. He was not so lucky the next time around and the Wallabies were left scrambling 10 points down.

4. Russell gives Lions selectors a timely reminder

Finn Russell was overlooked by the British and Irish Lions selectors this June but a man-of-the-match performance might just be showing them what they missed out on. Russell was controlling the game nicely and collected a try for himself as well. The Wallabies had him targeted as a danger man and his development is in many ways reflective of that of Scotland’s in recent years.

5. Small gesture puts rugby in perspective

The Wallabies and Scotland wore black armbands for Lachlan Ward on Saturday. Photo: Getty ImagesIt was a thrilling encounter, but the most poignant moment at Allianz Stadium came well before kick-off in Sydney on Saturday. A group of Warringah players and the family of Lachlan Ward stood in a guard of honour as both teams observed a moment’s silence for Ward, who died in a fifth-grade rugby match last weekend. Wallabies non-playing squad members and staff were spread throughout the group and coach Michael Cheika shook every person’s hand as the Wallabies made their way inside after the warm-up. It was an important reminder of the world that is bigger than a Test match.