Scotland smash Aussies in record win

Scotland's Byron McGuigan celebrates scoring one of two tries in the match against Australia....
Scotland's Byron McGuigan celebrates scoring one of two tries in the match against Australia. Photo: Reuters

Late replacement Byron McGuigan scored a brace of tries as a rampant Scotland showed completed a record 53-24 victory over 14-man Australia in their Autumn International at Murrayfield on Saturday.

McGuigan was thrust into the side for his first test start when influential fullback Stuart Hogg injured his hip in the warm-up, and provided two fine finishes to go with scores for scrumhalf Ali Price, wing Sean Maitland, lock Jonny Gray, centre Huw Jones, flank John Barclay and hooker Stuart McInally.

Ragged Australia’s tries came from a brace by centre Tevita Kuridrani, fullback Kurtley Beale and a late score via replacement loose-forward Lopeti Timani, but they were also their own worst enemies with some poor handling and a deserved red card for prop Sekope Kepu just before halftime that shaped the contest.

Coupled with their 30-6 loss to England the previous weekend, Australia have suffered back-to-back record defeats as they also end 2017 with a second loss to Scotland this year following a 24-19 defeat in Sydney in June.

For Scotland, it is also the most points they have ever managed in a game against one of the major Southern Hemisphere rugby nations.

South African-raised McGuigan started the party as he showed neat footwork to capitalise on a loose ball and dribble over the line, before Australia grabbed the initiative when Kuridrani profited from two pieces of good play from first five-eighth Bernard Foley.

But the tide of the match turned a minute before halftime when Australia were reduced to 14 players after Kepu barged into a ruck, leading with his shoulder, and connected with the head of Hamish Watson. It was a piece of poor discipline that deserved the harshest sanction.

Scotland were rewarded for their positivity as they kicked for an attacking line-out from the resulting penalty and Price wriggled his way over the line for a 17-12 halftime lead.

Australia started brightly after the break as they took the ball through 20 phases before Beale spotted the slightest of gaps in the home defensive line and crossed for the try.

But from then on, Scotland were able to gain control and never looked like losing the match as Australia visibly tired.

Maitland outsprinted three Australia forwards to cross for his try, before prop Jamie Bhatti’s break was finished by Gray.

The home side were full of confidence and when they won a penalty in the Australian 22, first five-eighth Finn Russell took a quick tap and sent the ball to Jones, who has scored a try in each of his last five internationals.

Australia hooker Stephen Moore received a rousing send-off from the Murrayfield crowd when he was replaced on the hour-mark to bring his 129-cap test career to a disappointing end as McGuigan, Barclay and McInally punished the visitors with further tries.

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