Joel Sked gives his takes on Scotland’s dominant display as they ran up eight tries to be waltz past the Wallabies.
Nobody could have foreseen what was to come when it was announced that Stuart Hogg had to be replaced due to injury minutes before the start; most of the crowd were cheering his name when it was read out at the stadium with around ten minutes to go. What they did not know was that Namibian-born Byron McGuigan had taken his place, Sean Maitland moving to full-back with McGuigan on the wing.
The 28-year-old took little time to make an impact, opening the scoring with an unorthodox try. He anticipated play in the middle of the park, picking up on Bernard Foley’s loose pass, before kicking the ball ahead, only for his control to send him out to the left. It appeared his chance of a try and gone but he recovered with a deft touch before going down over the line.
The Sale wing was a constant threat. Aggressive and powerful, every time he got the ball his positivity frightened the Aussies. He fully deserved his second try.
Byron McGuigan was rightly awarded man of the match. On any other day it could have been a number of players, such was the level of performance throughout the team, tries arriving from all over the pitch.
Sean Maitland took to the full-back role with ease after a late switch, while Finn Russell was at his creative and probing best. His quick-thinking to set up Huw Jones when Australia were sleeping was different class.
The physical presence of Stuart McInally, Jonny Gray, John Barclay and Hamish Watson overran the Aussies, providing Scotland with drive and a robustness.
There is so much for Gregor Townsend to be pleased with.
The red card caveat
Scotland racked up their biggest ever points total against one of the southern hemisphere’s big three with eight tries. It should be tempered with the fact that Scotland were trailing as the game approached the interval and it was 15 v 15. This mammoth win came against a team who played more than half the game with 14 men.
It was a horrific challenge by Sekope Kepu. The tighthead steamed over top of a maul and plunged his shoulder into the head of Scotland flanker Hamish Watson. The force of the ‘tackle’ was enough to make the hardiest of souls wince.
It should be noted that Australia were with 14 men for the entirety of the second half but it also should be noted that it was entirely their own fault. And how Scotland took advantage.
Perhaps it could be argued that winning so handsomely against 14 men is an extra string to this Scotland side’s bow. They did what great teams do, see a weakness, take advantage of it and show no mercy.
How many times in the past have we seen Scottish team, no matter the sport, get in to such positions and wilt, unsure what to do, complacency seeps through the team.
It was great to see Scotland score so quickly after the red card. It was even better to see the reaction to Australia drawing level so quickly after the bet. Then the satisfaction continued to grow and grow as continued to attack, punish the Wallabies, score and really press home their superiority.
Bring on the Six Nations!
After a successful autumn test series Gregor Townsend, his players and all in blue will be counting down the days until the Six Nations gets underway when Scotland travel to Cardiff on 3 February.
Having won the last competition when it was just Five Nations, Scotland have rarely been close to winning their first Six Nations, collecting the wooden spoon four times instead, with three Calcutta Cups for consolation.
The past three games, however, has given the nation hope and more importantly confidence. At the same time it will also lay down a marker to those watching on from Wales, England, Ireland, France and Italy.
Plus, there were important players missing from the front row and Stuart Hogg. Just imagine what Scotland could have done to Australia if Hogg was pulling the strings?