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Wallabies overpower Scots in second half
June 13, 2004 22:47 IST
Australia scored three late tries to beat Scotland 35-15 in their first outing since last year's rugby World Cup final loss to England.
Lote Tuqiri crossed twice just days after turning down a lucrative offer to return to rugby league, while Wendell Sailor struck in the dying minutes on Sunday as the Wallabies finally found their rhythm after a rusty start.
The Scots were given little hope of beating the Wallabies for the first time in more than two decades after finishing bottom of this year's Six Nations, but kept in touch through the kicking of flyhalf Dan Parks before the Wallabies ran away with the match in the second half.
Australia looked set for an even bigger win after they dominated the opening 20 minutes but failed to capitalise on their great start by kicking away too much possession.
Inside centre Matt Giteau finished off a spectacular try that began inside the Australia half to give the Wallabies a 13-0 lead after just 16 minutes but the expected onslaught failed to materialise.
The Scottish defence held firm against waves of Australian attacks before the tourists started to make some inroads of their own.
They succeeded in disrupting the Australian lineout and made several small breaks around the ruck although they rarely looked like crossing the line.
Australia, who had opened the scoring with two early penalties from fullback Joe Roff, began to show signs of frustration that allowed the Scots to peg back the lead.
Parks, who was born in Australia, opened his team's account with a penalty goal in the 22nd minute then added three more to send the tourists to the halftime break trailing by just a point at 13-12.
Australia regained the initiative shortly after the re-start when Tuqiri crossed in the left corner after Wallabies flyhalf Stephen Larkham had looped around to create the overlap.
Parks kicked a fifth penalty to pull the margin back to three points but Australia finished too strongly, scoring 17 points without reply.
Roff added his third penalty to give the Wallabies some breathing space before Tuqiri, who signed a three-year deal to remain in union on Friday, delivered the killer blow when he finished off another move to score a second try in the left corner.
The Scots survived a series of attacks from the Australians in the final stages before conceding a late try when Edinburgh winger Simon Webster chipped straight to Sailor and the big winger raced away to score untouched.
Australia's win was their 12th in succession over Scotland dating back over 22 years. The teams meet in the second and final test in Sydney next Saturday.
Australia: 15-Joe Roff; 14-Wendell Sailor, 13-Clyde Rathbone (21-Matt Burke 65), 12-Matt Giteau, 11-Lote Tuqiri (22-Chris Latham 66); 10-Stephen Larkham (20-Morgan Turinui 76), 9-George Gregan (captain); 8-David Lyons, 7-George Smith (19-Phil Waugh 55), 6-Radike Samo, 5-Nathan Sharpe, 4-Justin Harrison (18-Daniel Vickerman 65), 3-Alastair Baxter, 2-Brendan Cannon (16-Jeremy Paul 65), 1-Bill Young (17-Matt Dunning 71).
Scotland: 15-Hugo Southwell; 14-Sean Lamont, 13-Ben Hinshelwood, 12-Andrew Henderson (22-Graeme Morrison 76), 11-Simon Webster; 10-Dan Parks (21-Gordon Ross 71), 2, 9-Chris Cusiter (20-Mike Blair 71),; 8-Allister Hogg, 7-Donnie Macfadyen (19-Jon Petrie 66), 6-Jason White, 5-Stuart Grimes, 4-Scott Murray (captain) (18-Iain Fullarton 60), 3-Bruce Douglas (17-Craig Smith 66), 2-Gordon Bulloch (16-Steve Scott 75), 1-Tom Smith.
Referee: Paul Honiss