Townsend delighted with Scots' effort


Scotland coach Gregor Townsend was a happy and proud man after watching his players beat Australia 24-19 in Sydney.

British & Irish Lions call-up Finn Russell signed off from Scotland duties with 11 points from a try and three conversions, as Duncan Taylor and Hamish Watson also touched down.

Israel Folau crossed over for a brace of first-half tries for the hosts, with Bernard Foley’s conversion making it 17-12 at the break as they recovered from being 10-0 down. Will Genia scored Australia’s third midway through the second half but the visitors held on for the win.

It was Scotland’s second successive triumph over the Wallabies Down Under, following a victory in Newcastle in 2012.

“The last 15 minutes are fresh in the mind and they required huge effort because the Wallabies had a lot of possession,” Townsend said.

“You could see their line break when we were only five points up in our 22 with the crowd behind them. The effort to get back on the ball, and Alex Dunbar managing to get the turnover, it was fantastic.

“If you have to defend 10 to 15 minutes against a team as brilliant in attack as that, you need strong bonds, and that is what this team has.”

The resolute defending at the end encouraged Townsend, who felt his team have learned from narrow defeats to Australia on the previous two occasions the teams have met, including the 2015 World Cup quarter-final.

“A lot is about what happens when you have not got the ball,” he added.

“They made the right decision to drive the line out and keep possession in that last minute but it was a great bit of play from the Australian defence to get a turnover, then it was great play from us to get it back.”

Captain John Barclay admitted the final minutes were equally nerve-wracking on the field. “It was a bit tense at the end but the work that had gone in prior to that is what won the game,” he said.

“They play a fast game, that is as fast as I can remember playing in. The fact that we managed to slow the ball down helped. The boys put everything out there, which is all you can ask.

“It will give us confidence, the fact is that we have come out the wrong side of a couple of these over the last few years. It is nice to close out one. The Six Nations we closed out a couple of really important results in the Wales and Ireland games, which shows we are getting better at closing out games.”

Australia head coach Michael Cheika was full of praise for Scotland. “We think they are a top team team,” he said.

“We have had big contests in the past, they are a well-coached team, and they have had some big results in the Six Nations. We knew what we were in for and got exactly what we expected.”