Wallabies on guard for Scottish ambush
The greenhorn Wallabies are on red alert for another ambush in their opening rugby Test of 2012 against Scotland in Newcastle on Tuesday.
When Australia last clashed with Scotland in 2009 at Murrayfield, they were left shellshocked by a 9-8 loss.
And even fresher in the memory is the Wallabies embarrassing 32-23 defeat by minnows Samoa in last year’s season-opening international.
The two major upsets are arguably the lowest points in Robbie Deans’ tenure as coach, and hooker Stephen Moore admits the warning signs are there again for the Wallabies who are blooding six debutants – Dan Palmer, Joe Tomane, Dave Dennis, Mike Harris, Luke Morahan and Michael Hooper.
Moore was part of both humiliating defeats and believes Australia’s disrupted preparation will have the written-off Scots sensing another chance to strike.
“I’m sure they will be. From their side of things they’ll be looking at that as a reason why they can win the game for sure … they’re going to see this as a real opportunity,” Moore said on Monday ahead of the team’s captain’s run.
“It’s never good to lose a game like that (against Samoa). We weren’t happy with it and it wasn’t acceptable.
“But (against Scotland) we’re not going to use (poor preparation) as an excuse. We’ve all played enough together. We’ll just keep things simple.
“We know they’ve had a really good preparation for this game, they’ve had two weeks together.
“There is a little bit (of an unknown) and we probably haven’t had the time to have an in-depth review of the way they’ve played … it’s really been looking at the way we want to play the game.”
Moore is one of six starting Wallabies asked to back up from weekend Super Rugby action, as Deans performs a balancing act with who he plays and who he keeps fresh for the first Test against Wales four days later.
The experienced No.2, who is looking forward to packing down with Brumbies teammate Palmer in the prop’s debut Test, said the Wallabies needed to take some important lessons from failing to adjust to conditions on that wet night at Murrayfield and more particularly from last year where they fell into the same trap in their World Cup loss to Ireland.
Moore said the Wallabies needed to make a statement against Six Nations wooden-spooners Scotland – to use as a springboard for the Wales series, the Rugby Championship and the Spring Tour.
“I think first Test of the year you really want to set a standard,” he said.
“If the weather is bad you’ve certainly got to alter the way you play that’s for sure and we’ve spoken about that.
“We trained in the wet yesterday so it shouldn’t really be a factor for us, we should be able to adapt to any conditions. We weren’t able to do it on that night in Scotland and we’ve got to make sure we turn up ready to play.”
Scotland have only beaten the Wallabies once in Australia and that was back in 1982.
© AAP 2013
Factbox for Wallabies v Scotland rugby Test match in Newcastle on Tuesday night:
Record: Played 27, Wallabies 18, Scotland 8, drawn 1.
In Australia: Played 10, Wallabies 9, Scotland 1.
Last played: Hopetoun Cup, Edinburgh, 21 November 2009 – Scotland 9 d. Australia 8.
Last played in Australia: Sydney, 19 June 2004 – Australia 34 d. Scotland 13.
Most matches by an Australian against Scotland: Stephen Larkham – 9 (1997-2006)
Most tries by an Australian against Scotland: 6 – David Campese (1984-1992), Lote Tuqiri (2003-2006).
Most points by an Australian against Scotland: Matt Burke – 79 – 2 tries, 12 conversions, 15 penalties (1996-2004)
Most points in a Test between Australia and Scotland: 25 by Matt Burke on June 13, 1998 in Sydney – 1 try, 4 conversions, 4 penalties.
*Newcastle will become the 10th city to have hosted Test matches in Australia, and the seventh home Test venue for the Wallabies.
*Scotland’s win at Murrayfield in 2009 snapped a run of 16 consecutive defeats against Australia.
*Scotland last appeared in Australia eight years ago when they lost a two-Test series, losing in Melbourne and Sydney.
*The 10 Tests between Australia and Scotland on Australian soil includes the quarter-final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Brisbane which the Wallabies won 33-16.
*Scotland’s only win in Australia, also came at Brisbane, 12-7 in the opening Test of the two-match series in 1982.
*No Australian player has ever scored more than two tries in a Test against Scotland. This feat has been achieved on 15 separate occasions.
*Scotland has scored 25 tries in Tests against Australia, and they’ve all been scored by different players.
*By featuring in his 102nd Test, Nathan Sharpe joins Stephen Larkham as the third most capped Australian player, moving ahead of the 101 appearances accumulated by David Campese.
*Six players – Joe Tomane, Luke Morahan, Mike Harris, Dave Dennis, Dan Palmer and Michael Hooper have been named to make their debut for the Wallabies.
Wallabes vs Wales - Scott Allen's match highlights -