SCOTLAND aim to beat Australia on their own patch for the first time since 1982 in tomorrow’s Test match in Newcastle and coach Andy Robinson wants his men to repeat the spirit of their 2009 win over the Wallabies at Murrayfield.
The Scots defeated the Aussies 9-8 that day after what Robinson has described as “courageous” and he insists his troops will have to reproduce that kind of resolve tomorrow if they are to have any hope of spring an upset in New South Wales. “When we last played Australia three years ago, it was one of the most courageous performances of scramble defence I have ever seen,” said Robinson.
“Four times Australia were over our line only to be held up and it will require that uncompromising resolve in Newcastle if we are to repeat that success.
“Scotland have played ten test matches in Australia and it is 30 years since the lone success to date – at Ballymore in 1982,” Robinson said. “The Wallabies team is liberally sprinkled with quality international rugby players, so we know that we’ll be underdogs.”
Robinson is hoping some fresh faces can provide the cure to his team’s woeful run of results. Glasgow prop Ryan Grant will win his first cap while Edinburgh star Matt Scott’s second will come in the form of his first start, and first international appearance at his preferred position of centre after an emergency spell at wing off the bench last time out.
Grant got the nod ahead of Jon Welsh, who played in the RBS 6 Nations defeat to Italy in place of Allan Jacobsen, who has been rested for this tour. Scott’s place in this team always looked more secure as Graeme Morrison, who started at centre against Italy, was left at home.
“I am pleased for somebody like Matt Scott who had a taste in the Six Nations and did well in the Heineken Cup,” said Robinson. “We are really looking for him on this tour to really make a mark. It is a good run of games and he is responding well in training. It is about being able to handle Test rugby and for a back there is no greater test than being able to play against the Australians both in attack and defence.”
On the decision to select Grant ahead of Welsh at prop, Robinson said: “Ryan got the spot for Glasgow and played really well so we have given him that role and Jon will get his opportunity off the bench. This is an opportunity for Ryan to show the form he was showing for Glasgow after being involved in the World Cup preparations.”
Not all of Robinson’s changes were through choice. Al Kellock comes into the side to replace the suspended Jim Hamilton, while Al Strokosch covers for the injured David Denton. Castre also refused to release Max Evans in time for him to take part.