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Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw rues manner of defeat to Australia

Published 12/11/2016

Scotland's Greig Laidlaw was left to rue the defeat by Australia
Scotland's Greig Laidlaw was left to rue the defeat by Australia

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw was left to lament his side's lack of luck after suffering another painful late set-back against Australia.

The Dark Blues were hoping to reap some revenge after their controversial exit from last year's World Cup at the hands of Michael Cheika's men.

But once again Bernard Foley nailed a late kick to break Scottish hearts as his side claimed a 23-22 win.

The hosts put out an inexperienced line-up yet their performance contained a encouraging mixture of maturity and verve.

Prop Allan Dell and centre Huw Jones were making their first international appearances at Murrayfield, while tighthead Zander Fagerson and flanker Hamish Watson registered their first starts for their country.

But Laidlaw admits they did not have the stroke of fortune they required to claim a third win over the Wallabies in seven years.

"As players we understand where we are," said the captain, who added seven points with his boot. "We believe we are so much better and so much more organised.

"We know exactly what each other is doing and we feel that is starting to come though in our performances.

"We're pretty much in every single game we play now.

"It's just about getting that little bit of luck. Everybody needs that bit of luck.

"One of my kicks clipped the inside of the post. It was the thickness of a lick of paint away from going through. If it had we were probably home and hosed.

"But unfortunately we just coughed up a try at the end. We felt we were harshly penalised at the end when John Barclay was on the ball near the end.

"We feel we are so close but we're massively frustrated."

The look of disgust on Laidlaw's face after referee Craig Joubert wrongly handed Australia a decisive penalty at Twickenham was one of the enduring images of last year's World Cup.

But the Scots scrum-half preferred not to look back after another harsh loss.

He said: "That quarter-final is gone. It was a while ago. The pleasing thing for us is that we played so much better than we did in Japan during the summer."

Departing head coach Vern Cotter was denied a winning start to his farewell tour.

He was frustrated with referee John Lacey's display but with seven games left before his Scotland reign ends next summer, the Kiwi was remaining positive.

He said: "We always come back to the old saying of fine margins. I wouldn't necessarily say the best team won.

"I'm incredibly proud of the players and the way they played that game.

"There are things we can control and things we can't, so we focus on the things we can.

"The players played with immense courage and threw themselves at it. I think we didn't get the rub of the green at times.

"There were eight penalties against us in the second half but only two for us. But as I say that is something we can't focus on.

"The most important thing for us is to get back to improving performances. That's what we will do."

Australia coach Michael Cheika admitted his side "lacked focus" but he was not surprised to see them pushed close again.

"I know you guys never believe me when I say it is going to be close," he said. "Then when it's close you ask me why it was close.

"It's because it's the best players in their country playing each other.

"Scotland have improved a lot. They have fine players. Their domestic teams are competing at a higher level.

"I would have liked to see us play better and I believe we could but there are no gimmes in this game."

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