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Scotland v Australia Talking Points

Published 11/11/2016

Scotland will be on a revenge mission following Australia's World Cup quarter-final win, pictured
Scotland will be on a revenge mission following Australia's World Cup quarter-final win, pictured

Scotland will kick off the Vern Cotter farewell tour with Saturday's opening autumn Test against Australia.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the main talking points ahead of the match.


No-one needs to remind the Dark Blues of the events which cost them a place in the last four at last year's World Cup. Their quarter-final defeat to Michael Cheika's Wallabies remains one of the greatest injustices in Scottish sporting history. But the real ire among Cotter's squad is directed at referee Craig Joubert, whose wrongly awarded 79th-minute penalty handed Australia victory, rather than Saturday's opponents. Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw has spoken this week about the need to learn from that agonising loss without being distracted by emotion, so expect the Scots to come out fired up but with calm aggression.


The Kiwi admits the decision taken by Scottish Rugby bosses to dispense with his services once his contract expires next summer, replacing him with highly rated Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend, has come as a disappointment. But the 54-year-old has wasted no time sorting out his own future, agreeing to take over at Montpellier once his duties at Murrayfield are complete. He now has eight games left to cement his legacy in Scotland, but do not expect the straight-talking former Clermont Auvergne boss to down tools. He is determined to leave the side in as strong a position as he can ahead of the 2019 World Cup.


Scotland hooker Ross Ford will become just the third Scot to reach a century of caps when he walks out at Murrayfield on Saturday. Full-back Chris Paterson (109) and wing Sean Lamont (105) have already passed that proud landmark but Ford's achievement is all the more remarkable considering the punishment his position forces him to endure. Remarkably, the 32-year-old has managed to avoid serious injury in the 12 years he has been a fixture in the Dark Blues line-up, and says retirement remains a distant prospect. Should he manage to keep himself out of trouble, he is likely to surge past Paterson's record tally.


This weekend's capital showdown is Scotland's first since a tired squad trudged through two end-of-season Tests in Japan, putting on two turgid displays against the Brave Blossoms. The Australians, by contrast, are firmly up and running. Their gruelling Rugby Championship campaign saw them knocked about by New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina over six games from August to October, but it was just the preparation they needed ahead of last week's duel with Wales in Cardiff. The Wallabies put on a rampant display, running up five tries at the Principality Stadium. Scotland need to get up to speed quickly or they too could suffer.

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