EDINBURGH - Retiring hooker Stephen Moore has warned the wounded Wallabies they will face a "tough test" against an increasingly confident Scotland in their European tour finale in Edinburgh on Saturday.
Australia are looking to bounce back from last week's 30-6 defeat at Twickenham, where a record 24-point loss to England was somewhat harsh on the tourists. They will also be trying to avenge a 24-19 defeat by Scotland in the teams' most recent meeting in Sydney in June.
"Scotland beat us earlier in the year, so we know they're a quality team," said Moore, the former Australia captain, who has been promoted from bench duty to collect his 129th and final cap as a member of the run-on XV.
"We know it's going to be a tough Test match for us," the 34-year-old Queensland front-row added ahead of what will be his last competitive match in both professional club and international rugby.
"These two teams have been evenly matched over quite a period of time now."
The gap between the countries has indeed closed dramatically since Moore made his first Australia start in a 44-15 thrashing of Scotland in Edinburgh in November 2006. He scored the last of five Wallaby tries that day in what was a 16th successive Australian triumph over the Scots.
Scotland, who nearly recorded their first victory over world champions New Zealand before going down 22-17 to the All Blacks at Murrayfield last week, have won three of their six encounters with the Wallabies since that heavy 2006 loss.
Their June success was all the more impressive given they were without their three most potent attacking weapons in fullback Stuart Hogg, centre Huw Jones and wing Sean Maitland, all of whom are set to be in action at a sold-out Murrayfield on Saturday.
The three losses Scotland have suffered against the Wallabies in that period have all been by narrow margins: 23-22 at Murrayfield last November, 35-34 in a controversial 2015 World Cup quarter-final at Twickenham and 21-15 in Edinburgh three years ago.
But despite his team's impressive performance against the All Blacks, Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend warned: "We've got arguably an even bigger challenge (against Australia).
"We're playing the current number three team in the world, arguably the best attacking team in the world," he added.
"Australia beat New Zealand a few weeks ago. They were very good (in a 29-21 win) against Wales and had a lot of the game on a wet day against England, so we know we are playing one of the form teams in the world right now.
"If we drop our standards we are not going to win," the former Scotland playmaker insisted.
Townsend, who cites two spells playing with the Sydney club Warringah as the pivotal experience in his rugby career, has made four changes to his starting XV.
Maitland comes in for Lee Jones on the left wing, with No 8 Ryan Wilson, lock Grant Gilchrist and prop Simon Berghan all added to the home pack.
Wallaby head coach Michael Cheika escaped punishment by officials on Thursday following an investigation into his off-field behaviour during Australia's defeat at Twickenham.
It is his players' discipline, however, that will likely need to improve if Australia are to end their year on a winning note.
Fullback Kurtley Beale and openside flanker Michael Hooper were both sin-binned against England.
Australia captain Hooper now holds the dubious distinction of being the most yellow-carded player in international rugby union history, with eight such cautions against his name.