Scotland captain John Barclay holds aloft the trophy after they beat Australia on Saturday. Photo: David Gray, Reuters
Scotland captain John Barclay holds aloft the trophy after they beat Australia on Saturday. Photo: David Gray, Reuters
Scottish players celebrate after receiving a penalty to end the game and beat Australia. Photo: David Gray, Reuters
Scottish players celebrate after receiving a penalty to end the game and beat Australia. Photo: David Gray, Reuters
Scotland flank Hamish Watson (No 7) is congratulated by teammate Alex Dunbar after scoring what turned out to be the winning try. Photo: David Gray, Reuters
Scotland flank Hamish Watson (No 7) is congratulated by teammate Alex Dunbar after scoring what turned out to be the winning try. Photo: David Gray, Reuters

SYDNEYScotland dug deep to pull off a famous 24-19 victory over Australia in a gripping rugby union international in Sydney on Saturday.

The teams scored three tries each, but Scotland were 17-12 ahead at halftime, and after regaining the lead midway through the second period, they held on gamely for the win.

Fifth-ranked Scotland proved the nemesis of the Wallabies, the World No 3, and won again in Australia after a try-less 9-6 victory on their last tour in 2012.

In a tight finish, the Wallabies tried desperately to conjure the converted try needed for victory, but the Scottish defence refused to buckle. Scotland have given the Wallabies plenty of trouble in recent years, and heading into the Sydney Test, had gone down by just one point in their previous two meetings.

The Wallabies were their own worst enemies in a ragged first half, gifting the Scots two tries to trail at halftime as Israel Folau replied with two signature tries, making it four in his last two Tests.

Scotland had the better of the early exchanges, and fullback Greig Tonks gave them the lead with a long-range penalty goal.

Wallaby star Israel Folau raced over to score against Scotland. Photo: David Gray, Reuters


Australia were sloppy in possession, and a poor pass from scrumhalf Will Genia to hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau was snapped up by inside centre Duncan Taylor, who ran over from 30 metres.

Flyhalf Finn Russell’s conversion gave the Scots a surprise 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.

But the Wallabies hit back minutes later when Bernard Foley found Folau with a huge gap out wide for the fullback to storm over. Foley’s conversion narrowed the deficit to 10-7 with 20 minutes gone.

But yet again Scotland feasted on a Wallabies mistake when the influential Russell charged down Genia’s clearing kick to score another gift try. Russell converted his try and the Scots were threatening an upset at 17-7 after 27 minutes.

The Wallabies answered with a breathtaking second try for Folau, who easily out-jumped Tonks to score off Foley’s pinpoint cross-field kick to the right wing.

That left the Wallabies trailing 17-12 at halftime, but they returned with more intent and ripped into the Scots with some ferocious tackling.

Stephen Moore replaced Polota-Nau 10 minutes into the second half, and Australia hit the front 19-17 when Genia burrowed over for a try from a ruck on Scotland’s line after 57 minutes.

Scotland wing Lee Jones hurtles over a ruck against the Wallabies. Photo: David Gray, Reuters


But the Scots roared back with a well-taken try by openside flank Hamish Watson, after wing Lee Jones leapt over an attempted tackle, as Scotland outnumbered the Australian defence.

Scotland held out the Australian offensive, and got a scrum feed when they held up a Wallabies surge deep inside their quarter as the clock ticked down.

Yet another Wallabies opportunity was thrown away when lock Rory Arnold lost the ball in a lineout close to Scotland’s line.

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