Scotland v Australia | Match Report | 2021 Rugby World Cup

Scotland v Australia | Match Report | 2021 Rugby World Cup

Scotland were narrowly defeated 14-12 by Australia as they came desperately close to a win at the 2021 Rugby World Cup for the second week in a row.

Leading 12-0 at half time, playing into a strong wind was a big factor in the second half as Australia overturned the deficit, but Scotland can take heart from a strong and composed defensive showing.

It was the Scots who had much of the early territory, and they struck first in the 9th minute. A penalty was kicked to the right hand corner, and the resulting lineout was won at the front and driven towards the line. It was Lana Skeldon who got the ball down right beside the touchline to give Scotland a deserved lead.

The teams were figuring each other out and as a result the game was struggling to flow, but Rhona Lloyd picked up a great opportunity from broken play in the 19th minute. The right winger initially dropped a pass from the back of a scrum, but after gathering it she wriggled free from a tackle and burst for the line, but knocked it on in the tackle just five metres out.

Six minutes later, after their first period of real defence, Scotland won the ball back and Lisa Thomson kicked downfield, and the side in blue soon earned a lineout five minutes out. The driving maul surged towards the line again, and the Australians were forced to give the penalty away. The ball was booted out five metres out again, and again the penalty was conceded by Sera Naiqama.

A third driving maul was collapsed by Adiana Talakai, who was yellow carded, and a penalty try was given to put Scotland 12-0 up.

In the 35th minute, Australia found themselves in the Scotland 22 for just the second time. Scotland did well to recover from a line break, but the penalty was conceded. It was kicked to the corner by the Aussies, but the attempted maul was unsuccessful, the ball knocked on under immense pressure from Rachel Malcolm.

Scotland had a scrum with the last play of the first half, and were put under pressure by their counterparts, but Caity Mattinson fished the ball out of the retreating scrum and kicked it out for half time. An excellent first 40 from the Scots who controlled the flow of the game and were perhaps unlucky not to lead by more.

Half time: Scotland 12-0 Australia

Scotland were forced to defend in their own half in the 45th minute, with the Wallaroos carrying hard, but an excellent defensive set was rewarded when the ball was knocked on and Rachel Malcolm was given the penalty when she was tackled high.

Scotland were playing into a strong wind in the second half, and a result were struggling to get out of their own half, but the defending was resolute and the desire unwavering.

In the 56th minute Australia thought they had pulled a try back as they crossed under the posts, but a combination of Lisa Thomson and Helen Nelson were strong and held the ball up.

But in the 59th minute the side in gold did narrow the gap. After relentless pressure, the ball was shipped out to the left where Australia had an overlap, and Bienne Terita cruised over.

If Australia had plenty of ball in the first half, they had even more in the second. In the 67th minute, they kicked a penalty into the right hand corner, but the lineout was knocked on and Scotland exited.

But Australia kept knocking and they took the lead in the 73rd minute. A scrum in the middle of the pitch was taken to the left, and a phase later Ashley Marsters crashed over the line.

Scotland were offered a lifeline three minutes later, as Marsters was sent off for a high tackle on Sarah Law.

The tiring Scots gave everything and pushed for a response, but a knock on in midfield brought an end to a good passage of play in the 77th minute.

The game looked to be over as the ball went out after 80 minutes, but the TMO intervened and Adiana Talakai was shown a second yellow for a high tackle, and the game continued.

Scotland pushed from their own half right to the death, but it was more heartbreak as Australia took it by two points.

Full time: Scotland 12-14 Australia

Scotland: 15. Chloe Rollie 14. Rhona Lloyd 13. Emma Orr 12. Lisa Thomson 11. Hannah Smith 10. Helen Nelson 9. Caity Mattinson 1. Molly Wright 2. Lana Skeldon 3. Christine Belisle 4. Emma Wassell 5. Sarah Bonar 6. Rachel Malcolm CAPTAIN 7. Rachel McLachlan 8. Jade Konkel-Roberts

Replacements: 16. Jodie Rettie 17. Leah Bartlett (for Wright 60) 18. Elliann Clarke (for Belisle 54) 19. Lyndsay O’Donnell 20. Mairi McDonald 21. Sarah Law (for Nelson 70) 22. Evie Wills 23. Shona Campbell (for Rollie 37)

Australia: 15. Lori Cramer 14. Bienne Terita 13. Georgina Friedrichs 12. Sharni Williams 11. Maya Stewart 10. Arabella McKenzie 9. Iliseva Batibasaga 1. Liz Patu 2. Adiana Talakai 3. Eva Karpani 4. Sera Naiqama 5. Atasi Lafai 6. Emily Chancellor 7. Shannon Parry 8. Grace Hamilton

Replacements: 16. Ashley Marsters 17. Emily Robinson 18. Bridie O’Gorman 19. Michaela Leonard 20. Grace Kemp 21. Layne Morgan 22. Trileen Pomare 23. Pauline Piliae-Rasabale

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