Scotland 15 Australia 44: Larkham and Latham hold the upper hand

These have not been the best of times for Australian rugby. "Wallabies a house of cards, so Connolly shuffles deck again," the Sydney Morning Herald proclaimed in midweek after defeat against the Irish in Dublin prompted six changes from John Connolly for the visit to Edinburgh yesterday. Unfortunately for Scotland, Australia's coach had too many aces left in his new-look hand.

Having wobbled to the final test of their European tour with a draw in Cardiff, an unconvincing win in Rome and a loss at Lansdowne Road, Connolly's Wallabies steadied themselves for something of a Murrayfield hurrah. In running in five tries and rising to the heights of the highly proficient in the second half, they rattled up what was a record score for an Australian test side on Scottish soil - just one point shy of their highest tally against Scotland home or away.

In Stephen Larkham and Chris Latham, they had the trump cards of a supreme orchestrator and a lethal strike runner. In Stirling Mortlock, they also had a goalkicker of Wilkinsonesque precision, the Australian captain hitting the mark with all eight of his pots at the posts.

Sadly for the Scots, as they sought a sixth home win out of six in 2006, they had too few of their major players on the field. They were already without Jason White and Allister Hogg, cornerstones of the defence on which France and England foundered in last season's Six Nations Championship, when Frank Hadden's hand was further weakened before kick-off with the enforced withdrawl of Nathan Hines, the lock's appeal against a French league suspension failing to delay the administering of the punishment.

On top of that, Scotland offered much too little in attack. "We were well beaten by a better side," Hadden conceded. "We didn't perform with the accuracy required to beat a team as good as Australia."

At least the Scotland coach saw his side off to a good start, Chris Paterson landing a long-range penalty and Simon Webster cutting in off the left wing to cross. By half-time, though, Australia were 16-10 up thanks to three penalties and a conversion by Mortlock and a soft try by Larkham, who rode a weak tackle by Marcus Di Rollo before rolling over the line to score.

The momentum was with the men in the green and gold and they proceeded to pull clear in the early stages of the second-half. Twice Mark Gerrard touched down in the right corner: on the first occasion, thanks to a trademark Latham charge through the middle that tied in half of the Scottish defence, on the second, courtesy of some Larkham finesse, the outside-half dummying Phil Godman and eluding a Mike Blair tackle before spinning a scoring pass out to his right winger.

All of which, with two Larkham conversions, added up to Scotland staring at a 30-10 deficit, with 29 minutes remaining in which to salvage a modicum of pride. They showed signs of doing so when Dan Parks, their outside-half from New South Wales, hoisted a kick to the right corner and Lote Tuqiri's slip allowed Sean Lamont to collect the ball for his sixth Scotland try.

The Wallabies, however, finished with a flourish. Larkham and Phil Waugh combined to set up hooker Stephen Moore for a try on his full Test debut before Rory Lawson was summoned from the home bench to become the 1,003rd player capped by Scotland. Sadly, though, there was to be no fairy-tale baptism. It was the Gloucester scrum-half's attempted tackle that Latham broke through to score the final Wallaby try. If there was any celebratory dancing to be done last night, it was not really on the streets of Scotland.

Scotland: C Paterson (capt); S Webster, M Di Rollo (all Edinburgh), A Henderson (Glasgow), S Lamont (Northampton); D Parks (Glasgow), M Blair (Edinburgh); G Kerr (Borders), D Hall (Edinburgh), E Murray (Glasgow), A Kellock (Glasgow), S Murray, S Taylor (both Edinburgh), K Brown (Borders), D Callam (Edinburgh). Replacements: H Southwell (Edinburgh) for Webster, 8; P Godman (Edinburgh) for Di Rollo, 47-57, for Parks, 57; A Jacobsen (Edinburgh) for Kerr, 48; R Ford (Borders) for Hall 57; J Hamilton (Leicester) for S Murray, 68 ; A Strokosch (Edinburgh) for Brown, 68; R Lawson (Gloucester) for Blair, 71; Kerr for E Murray, 78.

Australia: C Latham (Queensland Reds); M Gerrard, S Mortlock (capt, both ACT Brumbies), S Staniforth (Western Force), L Tuqiri (NSW Waratahs); S Larkham (Brumbies), M Giteau (W Force); B Robinson (Waratahs), S Moore (Reds), G Shepherdson (Brumbies), N Sharpe (W Force), A Campbell, R Elsom (both Waratahs), G Smith (Brumbies), D Lyons (Waratahs). Replacements: W Paul (Waratahs) for Lyons, 60; P Waugh (Waratahs) for Smith, 60; M Chisholm (Brumbies) for Elsom, 69; T Polata-Nau (Waratahs) for Moore, 72; M Rogers (Waratahs) for Staniforth, 76; A Baxter (Waratahs) for Robinson, 77; J Valentine (Reds) for Larkham, 77.

Referee: D Courtney (Ireland).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
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

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'