8 Jun


Having enjoyed the Diamond Jubilee River pageant on Sunday where monsoon-like conditions failed to dampen the spirits of the royals and commoners alike, I settled down in my armchair on Tuesday morning for what I expected to be a rugby test played in perfect conditions down under in New South Wales. If anything the weather in Newcastle was worse than that endured in London with a torrential rain and a gale driving horizontally down the Hunter Stadium pitch. Presumably having lost the toss the Scots had the elements in the first half and predictably spent the opening half-hour in the Aussie 22 and the elements and their own ’white line fever’ saw several scoring chances being butchered by the over eager tourists. However a couple of penalties from fly-half Greig Laidlaw saw the Jocks pull 6-0 ahead. In their first meaningful visit into the visitor’s half Australia reduced the arrears when the Scots were penalized for not rolling away at the breakdown and centre Mike Harris halved the arrears. To be honest, leading by only three points at the break and facing the elements after it, I feared a drubbing in the second forty minutes; however I dragged myself out of the chair for a reviving cup of coffee (the sun was not yet over the yardarm!) and settled down once more for the impeding onslaught.  My worst fears appeared to be coming true when Australia had the chance to level six minutes after the re-start and Harris kicked the penalty despite the uprights swaying like a couple of Glasgow drunks on a Saturday night.

Harris tried his luck from the halfway line five minutes later but fell short and a couple of minutes after that with the Scots under intense pressure, another penalty was kicked to touch, much to the delight of the crowd. Aussie replacement Rob Simmons got over the line but was held up although referee Jaco Peyper did have to go to the TMO to confirm it. The Scots defensive heroics continued to the end and it looked as if they had survived for a creditable

 6-6 draw. In the final minute, Scotland made a foray into the opposition half and put the Australians under all sorts of pressure from a scrum. Another scrummage followed and this time the men in yellow were penalized and Laidlaw chipped the kick between the posts into a howling gale from 35 metres to spark scenes of wild celebration from the ‘drookit’ but happy Scots. 

Technically it was a back to back win; however the first of the two wins was back in November 2009.


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