As Scotland’s rugby team licked wounds today following a 28-0 mauling by South Africa, they were immediately targeted for an Australian revenge mission at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Mindful of how Scotland have won the last two fixtures between the countries, star Wallaby flanker Michael Hooper said: “What worries me is that they beat us in Australia last year, so they’ve got the rub on us.”
The Scots leaked four tries yesterday, but Hooper possibly had one eye on how they have in the past bounced back from a heavy set-back, notably in 2010 when a 3-49 defeat by New Zealand was then immediately followed by a win over the Springboks once they were up to speed. “It’s going to be a tough game, we want to get three out of three (autumn Test wins) now. It would be very nice (to get revenge),” said Hooper, adding: “The conditions were like Scotland last year in that Newcastle (New South Wales) game (and) it’s meant to be tops of three (degrees) so we’ve got to adapt to that.
“It will be a new experience, a new challenge for the group.”
The Scots were all at sea on occasions, particularly at the line-out against the Springboks, but they were playing only their third Test since running South Africa close in Nelspruit in the summer; by contrast, the visitors were playing their ninth.
Sean Lamont, who took over the captaincy when Greig Laidlaw was replaced by Chris Cusiter, late on, believes fortunes can be turned around.
“Going into the game we were full of confidence and we knew what we had to do. But we gave away too many scores and too many quick scores.
“South Africa are ranked second in the world and you can’t do that against any team, never mind the top sides in the international game. It was frustrating towards the end and we were trying to force things a little bit.
“But we just need to move on and hope to make amends in our next Test.”
Australia come to Murrayfield on the back of a solid win over Ireland, but with concerns over their midfield following the red card shown to centre Tevita Kuridrani for a dangerous tackle and whose disciplinary case will be heard in London tomorrow.
It is, however, Hooper who is attracting attention in the Scotland camp, not least for his two tries, a yellow card and a man-of-the-match award in Dublin.
“Guys like Michael Hooper have been playing incredibly well, so we will need to nullify him and get over the ball as quick as we can,” said Scots back row Dave Denton in highlighting the breakdown area as a major source of concern.