Wallabies triumph but fail to impress

Australia 33 Scotland 16
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The Independent Online

Scotland's copyright on brave sporting defeats remains secure which is something that cannot be said for Australia's world champions tag after today's Suncorp Stadium showdown.

Three second half tries ensured the Wallabies will advance as expected to a last four meeting with the All Blacks in Sydney next weekend but there will not be too many punters risking their money on a home win on the evidence of what occurred in Brisbane tonight.

After Ireland shook the holders to the core last weekend, their Celtic cousins did exactly the same and only the obvious lack of a cutting edge ensured their hard work up front did not receive tangible reward.

Australia had their line-out badly exposed, their pack virtually demolished and their skipper George Gregan left the field to ironic cheers on the hour as he was replaced by Chris Whitaker.

None of that will be of much comfort to the Scots though, especially as the eventual margin of victory did scant justice to their efforts.

But at least they went down with a fight, ensuring the reputations of outgoing coaches Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer, plus veterans Bryan Redpath and Kenny Logan did not suffer too badly.

It had not looked good at the start as the Scots' calamitous campaign almost suffered another laughable setback when Paterson needed to be helped from the field after the pre-match warm-up after being struck in the face by the ball.

Suggestions that it would be the prelude to yet another miserable night were quickly dispelled though and for 46 minutes, they ripped into the Wallabies as though their lives depended on it.

Though they succeeded in ravaging the home line-out and making their pack look totally ordinary, the Scots did not have the raw pace to make the most of their pressure.

They might have had more luck had Wendell Sailor been sin-binned as he should have been for landing an obvious punch on Nathan Hines.

Kiwi referee Steve Walsh was right on top of the incident when it occurred but the man who received a three-day ban for falling out with England fitness coach Dave Reddin during the stormy encounter with Samoa opted against sending Sailor to the touchline.

Gamely though Paterson responded for Scotland each time Flatley booted home a penalty, including the brilliant 45-metre drop goal he sent spinning between the uprights to bring his side level at the break.

Indeed, such was Paterson's assurance at stand-off, it was difficult to understand why he spent 38 Tests either at full-back or on the wing before eventually being given the role he prefers.

Having pushed Australia so hard during the opening period, Scotland toiled away for another six minutes after it before a couple of pieces of good fortune saw the home side finally breach opposition defences.

Phil Waugh was in the right place at the right time to pick up the loose ball when Andrew Henderson was tackled without support. Then, when Gregan spread play wide, Stirling Mortlock initially juggled possession and the Scottish defence stood off.

Mortlock though spotted his chance, eventually collected and shot 50 metres under the posts.

Flatley converted and added a penalty soon afterwards and, when George Gregan and David Lyons crossed in quick succession shortly afterwards, it seemed as though Scotland would wilt.

Instead, it just brought more defiance. One ferocious forward charge was halted before the Scots regrouped and Robert Russell was driven over in the final minute.

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