Let the holiday begin
ESPN Australia's Russell Barwick
June 5, 2012
Australia's James Slipper reflects on his side's defeat as Scotland start the party © PA Photos
Australia 6-9 Scotland. It's sounds like a half-time update, but sorry Wallabies fans - it's not.
This is the full-time score in a match between the 3rd ranked team in the world - Australia - and the 12th ranked team - Scotland.
The team that didn't win a game during the 2012 Six Nations are now 1 and 0 in their South Pacific tour. A trip my ESPNscrum colleague Graham Jenkins said would not be a holiday now officially is.
No matter what happens from here on, Scotland beat Australia in a Test match, in the middle of the Australian rugby season, on the Wallabies home turf. However many times you say it, it still doesn't quite sink in.
Sure the conditions were atrocious and the weather foul but the last time I looked both teams were playing in it. It would also be unfair for anybody to suggest that the weather was the reason Scotland won. It wasn't. They won because they played better and in the end deserved it.
Late in the game Australia had numerous chances to turn the screws on the Scottish defence and they couldn't. The Scots tried hard to lose it, three of their last four lineout throws were deemed not straight and they lost possession. They were playing into a gale force wind and had their line attacked on half a dozen occasions in the last 15 minutes. The players were out on their feet and the Wallabies moved in for the kill.
But then something happened that wasn't in the script. Despite not using the wind with their kicks for most of the 2nd half, panic set in and Australia kicked high and long - too long. The result was a scrum near halfway, Scotland's feed.
Not to worry, this was the time for Australia to stand up and show the Scots they still had something left. Win the ball against the feed, race back towards the Scotland line, score a try and win the game. Easy. But again the script was wrong.
It was Scotland who stood tall, forcing Australia back in the ensuing scrum, and then another. Then came a short break on the left side and Scotland were inside the Australian half for the first time since what felt like the first half.
Surely a chance to create something and maybe set up for a drop goal? But the ball doesn't come out. Lets have a scrum says the right honourable referee - South African Jaco Peyper. Siren sounds its full-time, but the referee says we will finish the scrum, then all have a hot shower. Another scrum, another big push and a penalty? No.
The referee decides to reset but this time the Scots weren't to be denied, the referee's left arm goes up and all of Scotland's hopes go up with it. And I'm talking about the entire country here!
Greig Laidlaw steps forward to kick a penalty from almost in front, 25m out to win the game. Two minutes AFTER the full-time hooter. It's the stuff of schoolboy dreams. Did I mention this was Scotland v Australia in Australia? Yes, I thought I did. He kicks it. Scotland win. They go nuts.
The pictures told a thousand words. The losers freezing and racing to get off the field and into some warm dry clothes. The winners all of a sudden couldn't care less about the wind, the rain and the cold. The were burning inside and they also knew that in 24 hours they would be in Fiji for a well deserved holiday. Cold beer anyone?
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin