Wallabies try, try, try but goals passed up
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.