Williams takes positives from the Wallaby lesson

Australia 34 Scotland 13
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The Independent Online

For the second weekend running, Scotland coach Matt Williams felt the scoreline in defeat to Australia was not a fair reflection of the way his players had battled against the Wallabies.

For the second weekend running, Scotland coach Matt Williams felt the scoreline in defeat to Australia was not a fair reflection of the way his players had battled against the Wallabies.

The Scots conceded five tries as they lost 34-13 in Sydney, but Williams rued the final 90 seconds, when his side failed to convert constant pressure into points and then conceded a last-gasp try to the Wallaby full-back Joe Roff.

"I'm very disappointed for the boys because we should have scored there and 29-20 was a fair reflection," said Williams. "I am very disappointed with that final scoreline. I believe we played better than that. It doesn't reflect the difference between the sides. We generally defended very well but missed some absolutely crucial tackles in our 22."

The winger Lote Tuqiri, who scored twice in Australia's 35-15 victory in Melbourne last Sunday, repeated that feat and was backed up by scores from his fellow winger Wendell Sailor and the centre Morgan Turinui, with Roff adding three conversions and a penalty to his try.

Scotland's try, their only one of the series, came just before half time. First they thought Andy Henderson - their stand-out player - had scored when he burst through, only for referee Mark Lawrence to award a five-metre scrum after he had inadvertently blocked the home scrum-half George Gregan's path. But the tourists got the try their endeavours deserved when the No 9 Chris Cusiter went over from a ruck for his first Test score. Fly-half Dan Parks kicked the conversion and a penalty in either half.

Williams was delighted with the way his Test side had played on tour. "Our players have come on leaps and bounds. That is a very good Australian side. The last time out they came second in the world," he said. "We played very good rugby today, good rugby with the ball in hand, good rugby in defence against an extremely talented side who have been together as a unit for a number of years."

"The big lesson learnt as a team, through experience, is when we get to the 22 to be composed and prepared to stay there," added Scotland's forwards coach, the former All Black captain Todd Blackadder. "That is the biggest lesson learnt this year. We get down to the green zone and turn it over and spend lots of time defending. You can't win Test matches like that. We need to show more confidence and composure, to put pressure on the opponent until we score points.

The Wallabies' coach, Eddie Jones, was impressed by Scotland's work at the breakdown, both in contesting the ball and attacking from the fringes, as they had for Cusiter's try. "Scotland played well, defended very well and attacked the breakdown extremely well," he said. "They made a few breaks in the centre. They are very clever in the way they work inside your first defender in the ruck and they did that quite well."

Jones was happy enough with Australia's performance and is looking forward to taking on England, the old enemy, next weekend in Brisbane. "Five tries to one is a reasonable effort," he said. "It was difficult for us tonight because we lost [the centre] Matt Giteau [to illness] just before kick-off. I thought some of our tactical kicking tonight was better. We certainly need to tighten up our ruck defence. Our running lines in the backs were not as precise as we want.

"But if we sat back at the start of the season and said we'd beat Scotland by nine tries to one, I think we'd be pretty happy."

Australia: J Roff (ACT); W Sailor (Queensland), S Mortlock (ACT), M Turinui (NSW), L Tuqiri (NSW); S Larkham (ACT), G Gregan (ACT, capt); B Young (ACT), B Cannon (NSW), A Baxter (NSW), J Harrison (NSW), N Sharpe (Queensland), R Samo (ACT), P Waugh (NSW), D Lyons (NSW). Replacements: J Paul (ACT), M Dunning (NSW), D Vickerman (NSW), G Smith (ACT), M Henjak (ACT) C Rathbone (ACT), C Latham (Queensland).

Scotland: H Southwell (Edinburgh); S Lamont (Glasgow), B Hinshelwood (Worcester), A Henderson (Glasgow), S Webster (Edinburgh); D Parks (Glasgow), C Cusiter (Borders); T Smith (Northampton), G Bulloch (Glasgow), B Douglas (Borders), I Fullarton (Sale), S Murray (Edinburgh, capt), J White (Sale), D Macfadyen (Glasgow), A Hogg (Edinburgh). Replacements: S Scott (Borders), C Smith (Edinburgh), C Hamilton (Newcastle), J Petrie (Glasgow), M Blair (Edinburgh), G Ross, G Morrison (Glasgow).

Referee: M Lawrence (South Africa).

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