International Rugby: Scotland v Australia Preview

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Scotland will be looking to claim their second win over the Wallabies in 2017 when the two sides lock horns at Murrayfield this Saturday.

After Scotland's gargantuan performance against New Zealand last week, and one that nearly led to a first-ever win over the World Champions, Gregor Townsend's men will look to transfer their disappointment into another big effort when Australia visit Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Aussies didn't play too badly themselves last week, but a freakish final 10-minute surge from England blew their Twickenham scoreline totally out of proportion - indeed, it will be very interesting to see how they bounce back this week, particularly since they come up against the side that shocked them in New South Wales in June.

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Scotland v Australia |  Saturday 25 November | Murrayfield | 16:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Scotland 18/10 | Draw 22/1 | Australia 9/20
Scotland 9/10 (+5.5), Australia 9/10 (-5.5)


The Scots came within a whisker of recording the greatest result in their proud rugby history last week. Unfortunately, that bloody Beauden Barrett was at the right place once again to bundle a flying Stuart Hogg into touch; forcing the Scottish fullback's speculative pass forward. Townsend's troops delivered a top-class performance, and perhaps may have just gotten that elusive win had it not been for a few schoolboy handling errors early on.

Having already beaten the Wallabies 24-19 this year, John Barclay's boys will be quietly confident of upsetting them for a second time in 2017. One gets the feeling that last week's result will only serve to lift Scotland this Saturday, and their awesome backline - led by the irrepressible Finn Russell at 10 - will be chomping at the bit to right the wrongs of last week with a victory here. With dry weather expected, shutting down the Wallaby backs will be key, while nullifying the ever-present threat of Michael Hooper at the breakdown will also go a long way to ensuring the win.

Since last week's All Black Test match, much has been made of the scintillating Hogg. His is a star that continues to rise, and there is every chance that he will finish his career as one of Scotland's all-time greats. One wonders what a difference he would have made to the British Lions on their June tour - had he not been involved in that freakish injury, he may well have produced a series-winning performance in Kiwi country. Sadly, we'll never know.


Another Aussie loss, another Michael Cheika post-match rant. The 50-year-old is once again in hot water, this time for having walked down to the touchline to protest some "unfair" decisions during that Twickenham clash. As if that wasn't enough, the fuming Cheika cut short an interview after the Test match when, after being questioned whether he had allegedly called referee Ben O'Keefe a cheat, he stormed away from the interviewer. World Rugby has since referred Cheika to the Autumn Internationals' disciplinary body. What a guy.

In the meantime, Cheika's side will be desperate to claim a win at Murrayfield after their 30-6 defeat by England. They really were in the contest up until the 70th-or so minute, but three tries at the death meant the English came away with a rather convincing victory.

This week, the Australians should be wary of any aimless kicking, with a Lions back three of Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour excelling on the counter. In what will be Stephen Moore's final professional game, his forwards will need to lay the platform for the likes of Kurtley Beale and Tevita Kuridrani to force the opposition to defend. After all: the Scottish backs can't attack if they're too busy making tackles.

Verdict: Australia 9/20
I'm going with my head over my heart here. The crowd at Murrayfield will again play the role of a 16th-man for the Scots, but they should just fall short to a tactically superior Aussie side. Moore should bow out a winner in what will be a hotly contested encounter. I wouldn't bet on the Aussies clearing the handicap, however.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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