Autumn international: Scotland 22-23 Australia
|Autumn internationals: Scotland v Australia|
|Scotland (17) 22|
|Tries: Jones 2, J Gray Cons: Laidlaw 2 Pen: Laidlaw|
|Australia (10) 23|
|Tries: Hodge, Kuridrani Cons: Foley 2 Pens: Foley 3 Yellow card: Skelton|
Tevita Kuridrani's 76th-minute try snatched a 23-22 victory for Australia over Scotland at Murrayfield.
Centre Huw Jones scored two first-half tries for the Scots, either side of Reece Hodge's stunning Wallabies score.
Jonny Gray drove over after the break for Scotland's third try, with Bernard Foley kicking two penalties.
With Australia trailing by six points, giant centre Kuridrani powered through to score under the posts, Foley converting to deny Scotland.
The hosts had a fantastic aggression and intensity about them from the get-go, but they had ambition and accuracy in attack to match. Greig Laidlaw booted them into an early lead and that advantage stretched from three points to 10 soon after.
Jones' opening try was a belter from a player in only his second Test and his first at Murrayfield. It was precise and clinical, with the immense Richie Gray taking the ball off the top of a line-out to start it all off and Finn Russell dinking a delicious chip over the Australia defence to carry it on.
Russell's kick was pin-sharp, as was the timing of Jones' run. He gathered and ran all the way to the posts.
The Wallabies struck back in the 13th minute, scoring a one-phase, set-piece beauty of their own. The visitors were all about deception and wraparound running, with Foley and Dane Haylett-Petty cutting Scotland open for Hodge to go over. Foley converted and then added a penalty to make it 10-10.
Scotland came again and grew stronger. Their second try was just before the half-hour mark and it was another delightful score that spoke to their wit and imagination. Tim Visser galloped up the left wing, then Russell had a pop and, when taking contact, he kept play alive with a sumptuous offload to Richie Gray.
It was high-class stuff at pace and it was too much for the Aussies, with Jones eluding two tacklers to score near the posts. Laidlaw's conversion made it 17-10 at the break.
Murrayfield was raucous, the old place coming alive again when Scotland scored for a third time four minutes into the new half. Foley's penalty had narrowed the gap to 17-13 but Jonny Gray's try made it 22-13.
Off a retreating scrum, Stuart Hogg darted around the corner to stretch the Aussie defence. When it came back inside, Gray got on the ball, his older brother behind him, and drove remorselessly for the line.
Foley's boot narrowed the lead to 22-16 and the Wallabies were asking questions with more regularity. Scotland had two coltish props - Allan Dell making his debut and Zander Ferguson making just his second appearance - and both stood up brilliantly. The Grays, Barclay and Hamish Watson made tackle after tackle.
Eventually, Scotland broke. Australia were down to 14 men at the time - Will Skelton sin-binned - but they turned the screw regardless. Waves of Wallaby pressure put too much heat on their defence and when a chink appeared in the line, Kuridrani powered through it.
Foley landed the killer blow with the boot, just as he had done in that epic World Cup quarter-final last year.
Even then, though, Scotland mounted phase after phase in the last play of the match, furiously trying to engineer a penalty or the field position for a drop-goal. They couldn't do it. An epic match, a monstrously good Scottish performance and a heartbreaking endgame.
Scotland: Hogg, Maitland, Jones, Dunbar, Visser, Russell, Laidlaw, Dell, Ford, Fagerson, R. Gray, J. Gray, Barclay, Watson, Wilson.
Replacements: Reid for Dell (52), Brown for Ford (56), Low for Fagerson (68).
Not Used: Gilchrist, Hardie, Price, Horne, Hughes.
Australia: Folau, Haylett-Petty, Kuridrani, Hodge, Speight, Foley, Genia, Sio, Moore, Kepu, Arnold, Coleman, Pocock, Hooper, Timani.
Replacements: Phipps for Genia (68), Alaalatoa for Kepu (62), Mumm for Arnold (48), Skelton for Timani (62).
Not Used: Latu, Robertson, Simmons, Cooper.
Ref: John Lacey (Ireland).