Scotland lose to five-try Waratahs

NSW Waratahs 33 Scotland 15

NSW Waratahs 33 Scotland 15

Scotland’s development tour ended with another sorry defeat today as a shadow NSW Waratahs side ran in five tries at Aussie Stadium.

After suffering a 41-5 thumping from Queensland 10 days ago, the midweek side recovered to secure a comfortable victory over NSW Country and entered the game in confident mood.

But the missed tackles that had proved so costly at Ballymore returned and former Australia winger Scott Staniforth scored twice. He was joined on the scoresheet by Elia Tuqiri, Peter Hewat and Tim Clark while Tim Donnelly landed four conversions.

Scotland, who trailed 12-10 at the interval, managed just a try in each half, from prop Joel Brannigan and winger Stephen Cranston with Gordon Ross landing a penalty and conversion.

The Waratahs were shorn of their international stars, with 10 players lost to Australia’s Test team and three with Super 12 experience in the Under-21 World Cup squad.

Most of the Scotland side were playing for a place on the tour – with Matt Williams to cut 10 players ahead of the Test matches – while Ross was on trial for a start against the Wallabies on Sunday.

Early on it appeared he was trying too hard to impress and he suffered a horror start, slicing one clearance and missing touch with two more.

Then, as the last man back, Ross failed to smother a grubber kick arrowed through from Waratahs fullback Hewat, Staniforth scooped up the loose ball, gathered from the ensuing ruck and touched down in the corner.

Scotland continued to look vulnerable to the counter-attack but Ross began to settle, attacking the gain line with more confidence and he landed a penalty before prop Brannigan was driven over for the tourists’ first try.

Craig Hamilton claimed a towering catch in the lineout five metres out, Scotland kept it tight and Brannigan touched down with Ross landing a magnificent conversion from wide right to earn Scotland a 10-5 lead.

But the Waratahs looked dangerous on the offensive and a magical piece of skill from Staniforth, with a back-of-the-hand pass, created the chance for Tuqiri outside him.

Cousin of Wallabies star Lote, Tuqiri crashed over and fly-half Donnelly, who had earlier missed a simple penalty, landed the conversion as the Waratahs regained the advantage three minutes before the interval Scotland brought on Matt Dey for Simon Danielli, who has been carrying a back problem all tour, but it was the Waratahs who made the first impact after the interval.

Captain Nathan Grey sent the ball wide to Tuqiri who drew Cranston and fed it back inside to Milton Thaiday with a pass that shredded Scotland’s defence.

Thaiday, normally a winger but being trialled at outside-centre, sent Hewat clear for the Waratahs’ third score, converted again by Donnelly.

The Waratahs were virtually gifted their next score, just five minutes later when Craig Smith missed Grey and his break found Staniforth who ran through the flimsy challenge of Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair and touched down for his second try of the night.

Donnelly converted to open a 26-10 lead for the Waratahs but in an open game, Scotland hit back immediately through Cranston after Ross’s floated ball found the overlap.

Trailing 26-15 to a shadow Super 12 side, Scotland began to force things and Dey’s attempted offload was picked off by Waratahs scrum-half Clark and he ran unchallenged from inside his own half, outpacing Blair to touch down.

A quarter of an hour remained and as much as Scotland tried to gee themselves up – “we are better than this lot” could be heard emanating from the huddle - it was the Waratahs who remained the more dangerous.

Staniforth was denied a hat-trick when he was called back for a forward pass but he had done enough to punish the Scots and excite the London Irish supporters who he will entertain in Reading next season.

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