Wal­la­bies try, try, try but goals passed up

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RUGBY - AL­LIANZ STA­DIUM

WAL­LA­BIES cap­tain Michael Hooper con­ceded it might have been bet­ter to take penalty goals on of­fer in the dy­ing stages of their de­feat to Scot­land, in­stead of un­suc­cess­fully push­ing for tries.

Aus­tralia turned down more than five penalty goal shots in the game, pre­fer­ring to kick for the cor­ner and drive in a tr y from the sub­se­quent li­ne­out.

It is a com­mon tac­tic in the mod­ern game — and Aus­tralia scored two of their three tries on the back of such a gam­ble — but there were raised eye­brows when Hooper turned down an easy three points in the 72nd minute, when Scot­land were lead­ing by five points.

It would have left Aus­tralia need­ing just one more penalty goal to win by a point for the third straight match, but they in­stead went for the tr y and turned the ball at the sub­se­quent driv­ing maul.

Scot­land coach Gre­gor Townsend said the Wal­la­bies tak­ing those three points had been his first thought.

“I did think at 72 min­utes, when we were five points up, would they go for three points and that would just leave it at a one score game, or a onepenalty game?” Townsend said.

“But they had suc­cess on the driven li­ne­out in the first half, we gave away penal­ties and they scored a try from it.

“I thought the way the for­wards de­fended that maul, and the pres­sure we put on that li­ne­out was ex­cel­lent through­out. Es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half.”

Hooper said he’d made the de­ci­sion in the be­lief they’d even­tu­ally c rack Scot­land’s line de­fence.

“I re­ally thought we had the mo­men­tum. I am the ul­ti­mate be­liever in our guys to do the job. Maybe too much so tonight,” he said. “Hind­sight, we maybe could have gone to the goal just to mount up a bit of pres­sure.

“How­ever I was feel­ing we were start­ing to get some re­ally good pres­sure j ust on the amount of time we were spend­ing in their 22. Even their 40.

“I was wait­ing on a tr y to hap­pen and we got very close a cou­ple of times.”

De­spite book­ies hav­ing the Scots at a stag­ger­ing $5.50, Townsend said Scot­land hadn’t felt un­der­rated by the Aus­tralians.

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