Scot­land bat­tle to draw with favourites aus­tralia

The Herald - Herald Sport - - SOUTH AFRICA V SCOTLAND -

COM­MON­WEALTH U19 RUGBY LEAGUE NINES scot­land pro­duced one of the day’s out­stand­ing per­for­mances to hold Aus­tralia to a draw and just miss out on a vic­tory over the tour­na­ment favourites in their fi­nal pool match at the Com­mon­wealth Rugby League Un­der-19 Nines Cham­pi­onship in Cum­ber­nauld yes­ter­day, writes Kevin Fer­rie.

Two late tries were re­quired to save the Aus­tralians af­ter tries from the cap­tain Jack ste­wart, har­vey Bur­nett, Richard har­ris and shane Toal had earned the hosts leads of 14-4 and 18-10 be­fore that late rally. Vic­tory alone would not have been enough to take the scots into the semi-fi­nals of the main draw be­cause they also needed to win by 31 clear points, but there was no ques­tion of their op­po­nents tak­ing it lightly be­cause they had to win to take top seed­ing ahead of pool run­ners-up Wales.

The Welsh had beaten the un­der-pre­pared scots 18-6 in what proved their cru­cial first match. how­ever, a try from Bur­nett was sub­se­quently enough to earn scot­land a 4-0 win against a game Ja­maican side and Mark sen­ter, their stand-in head coach, ex­uded pride in his team’s ef­forts. “That was all done on the back of three hours’ work to­gether, but they’ve been su­perb to work with in terms of their at­ti­tude,” he said. “We changed the de­fen­sive struc­ture af­ter the open­ing game against Wales which made a dif­fer­ence and now we’ve got to take con­fi­dence from what we did against Aus­tralia into to­mor­row’s meet­ing with south Africa.”

That will be the first of their plac­ings play-offs and the tan­ta­lis­ing prospect of a meet­ing with eng­land looms af­ter they made a shock early exit from ti­tle con­tention to find them­selves up against the Ja­maicans, with the win­ners of those two matches meet­ing for a fifth-place de­cider.

A 24-4 thrash­ing from Canada in their open­ing match was fol­lowed by a 16-10 de­feat at the hands of Pa­pua New Guinea who went on to beat Canada 22-6 and es­tab­lish them­selves as the big­gest threat to Aus­tralia. Pa­pua New Guinea will face Wales in the first of the semi­fi­nals and Aus­tralia will then face Canada.

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