RUGBY UNION: Australia's forward march

Captain Rob Wainwright of the Royal Army Medical Corps may have cut quite a dash in a top-of-the-range waterproof coat and a pair of regulation- issue tartan trousers that bordered on the outrageous, but until Scotland's skipper in absentia is in a position to consign his civvies to the wardrobe and return to the uniform of battle - blue shirt, white shorts, rugby boots - his once-passionate fellow forwards may well continue to resemble a powder puff unit in abject retreat.

Australia's 29-19 victory at Murrayfield was as bloodless a coup as it is possible to stage on enemy territory. Their mountainous pack weighed in at a stone and a half heavier per man and, infinitely more cohesive in thought and deed, they dominated their opponents so effortlessly that the Scots looked suspiciously under-motivated as well as overmatched.

Wainwright may be nursing groin and Achilles injuries at the moment but it is not unreasonable to suggest that even on one leg he would have tripled the amount of clout his companions brought to the proceedings before the subdued 51,000 Edinburgh audience.

Which is not to say that Gregor Townsend let the side down on his first big occasion as Wainwright's successor. If the game itself was played out in unsatisfying monochrome, there was an extraordinary amount to admire in Townsend's creative performance in midfield, embellished as it was with pace, variety and sleight of hand. In conjuring up tries for both his wings and masterminding at least as many near misses, the Northampton maestro was the most accomplished back on view - a real loaves and fishes effort given the paucity of the supplies at his disposal.

Yet in coaxing the best from the runners around him - Rowen Shepherd's precise angles of support from full-back ensured the artistry did not go entirely unappreciated - Townsend unwittingly shed direct light on the difficulties of galvanising a struggling pack from the remote outpost of outside-centre.

Wainwright, who is still not sure whether he can expect to resume business in five weeks or three months, was able to provide the necessary inspiration last season because he was up there amid the mud and bullets with the rest of the infantry, soaking up his fair share of punishment and then going back for more. Without him, the Scottish eight looked emasculated on Saturday.

Richie Dixon, the Scottish coach, pointed to his forward's difficulties at scrum and line-out as the root cause of defeat, and it was certainly true that John Eales, the Wallaby captain, and a lively front row, in which Richard Harry confirmed his potential as a world-class prop in the making, asked far too many awkward questions of their hosts. That much was predictable, though; what few foresaw was the insipid and ultimately futile effort in the loose, where Ian Smith tried to construct a one-man dam in the face of a tidal wave.

It was not as if the Wallabies, clearly suffering from nerves born of inexperience and unfamiliarity, were running hot. Sam Payne's untidy display at scrum-half undermined any number of promising raids, Pat Howard's leg injury prevented him from building on some flashes of early brilliance, and with Tim Horan struggling to translate his midfield dynamism to the backwaters of the right wing, there was little of the Michael Lynagh in their back-line performance and even less of the Mark Ella.

Damningly enough, the Australians found Patrick Thomas, the French referee, more difficult to fathom than anything the Scots brought to the contest. Greg Smith, a dry and wickedly outspoken humourist in the grand tradition of more than one of his predecessors as Wallaby coach, let rip on the subject afterwards: "It's difficult to present a marketable product if the person in control keeps stopping it. There was far too much whistle; these guys have got to take some responsibility but it doesn't seem to worry them. Let's hope it worries the people who assess them."

Smith was being only half-serious - "I'm always like this after a victory so perhaps I need some counselling," - but while he has a semblance of a point, the most laughable decision of the lot did not hang on the referee's interpretation of the abstruse laws surrounding quick lineouts, the Wallaby's main bone of contention, but concerned the last-minute try awarded to Tony Stanger. The Hawick wing was so far in touch when he attempted to ground the ball at the right corner that any of the watching stewards would have been justified in charging him pounds 27 for a stand seat. Thankfully for Thomas and his equally short-sighted touch judge, the game had been dead for some time.

There was nothing remotely questionable about the Scot's opening try, which fell to Kenny Logan via Townsend's high-quality floated pass. "They scored a lot of points against the All Blacks during the summer and now we can see why," Smith said. "They show a great deal of initiative with the ball and their catch-pass skills hold up well under pressure. If they could overcome their problems in the line-out they would be difficult to handle."

"If" is a big word, however. The Scots were almost resigned to defeat as early as the 12th minute when Warwick Waugh, 19 stone of mean-eyed aggression, managed to rumble off the edge of a driving maul and land with a resounding thump over the Scottish line. Matt Burke's goal-kicking and Daniel Herbert's classically simple two-on-one try 12 minutes from time completed a victory far more comfortable than the final, distorted scoreline suggested.

The Wallaby back division will require a tweak here and there before the internationals in Dublin and Cardiff over the next three weeks - David Campese, keen to emphasise that his tour selection was based on form rather than sentiment, is chomping at the bit - but when you are armed with a pack that makes Sydney Opera House look like a rabbit hutch, adjustments to your three-quarter line are among life's little luxuries.

Scotland Tries Logan, Stanger; Penalties Shepherd 3. Australia Tries Waugh, Herbert; Conversions Burke 2; Penalties Burke 5.

SCOTLAND: R Shepherd; A Stanger, G Townsend (capt), R Eriksson, K Logan; C Chalmers, G Armstrong (B Redpath, 76); D Hilton, K McKenzie, B Stewart, D Cronin, D Weir, M Wallace, E Peters, I Smith.

AUSTRALIA: M Burke; T Horan, D Herbert, P Howard, J Roff; D Knox, S Payne; R Harry, M Foley, A Blades, W Waugh, J Eales (capt), O Finnegan (B Robinson, 64), D Manu, D Wilson.

Referee: P Thomas (France).

Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreEXCLUSIVE The Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
News
news
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor