Scotland looking for another level against Wallabies

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Scotland are on a mission to prove they can consistently compete with, and beat, the world’s best and the Wallabies are next in their sights.

The Scots beat Australia in June and fell just five points short of New Zealand at Murrayfield a week ago, but returning winger Sean Maitland said they had to show one good game wasn’t all they had in them against the top sides.

“Obviously when you’ve reached that intensity against the best team in the world and come so close I guess people say there’s that expectation that you have to maintain that level and we know that,” he said.

“We don’t want to be remembered as having come so close, starting slow against Samoa and then nearly beating the best team in the world, we don’t want to take our foot off the throat and not reach that level against Australia.

“We don’t want to be that sort of team.”

The past six clashes between Australia and Scotland have all been decided by six points or less, with three wins apiece, and another tight outing is expected at Murrayfield on Saturday.

It was the Scottish defence that helped get them across the line in Sydney in June but coach Gregor Townsend said the Wallabies had come a long way since then.

“The longer they have been together has helped them improve,” he said.

“Things went well for us that day. We defended well. You have got to do that against Australia.

“We kept our width defence pretty well. We got two tries that came from defenders.

“We used the ball well, we were ambitious but didn’t use the ball as well as we could have.”

With their fluid defensive structure, which has a different look to it with the addition of Kurtley Beale, Townsend said Australia would be a difficult prospect for the Scottish attack.

“Australia have a defence that swaps positions. Wingers have to defend on both sides, the back three work very closely together,” he said.

“Kurtley Beale closes the game, comes in as the extra man, Hodge does a lot of work as that second full-back.

“Bernard Foley defends in a different way than most teams would off line outs.

“They paint different pictures and will mix it up during games.

“It is up to us to make the right decisions. If we are not accurate. they have dangerous attackers, Foley, Beale, the centres.

“These are players you don’t want to give them a chance of good ball.”

Maitland has been recalled into the starting after returning from a knee injury, matching up against Wallabies speedster Marika Koroibete, ready for a tough match-up with the league convert.

“I don’t really watch too much rugby, but I’ve seen that he’s really rapid.

“He’s got that league background so defensively he’s pretty good, but they got some talent in their back line.”

Australia takes on Scotland on Saturday November 25, kicking off at 2:30pm local, Sunday 1:30am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS Viceland.