Scotland 15-16 Australia: Blair Kinghorn misses final-minute penalty chance to beat Wallabies
Australia scored through converted James Slipper try and three Bernard Foley penalties to win by a point; Scotland scored tries through Ollie Smith, Blair Kinghorn, with latter adding one conversion and one penalty, but missing a further two kicks; Glen Young was sin-binned for the hosts
Last Updated: 29/10/22 11:34pm
Blair Kinghorn missed a last-minute penalty chance for Scotland to beat Australia at Murrayfield in their opening autumn Test, as the Wallabies held on for a 16-15 victory.
A first half dominated by Australia saw Scotland score first, as full-back Ollie Smith stepped and dived over on 11 minutes after good work from centre Sione Tuipulotu and fly-half Kinghorn - the latter starting in place of the omitted Finn Russell.
Australia fly-half Bernard Foley hit back with two penalties for a narrow 6-5 half-time lead, as the Wallabies conceded five turnovers to Scotland in the hosts' 22, and failed to make their superiority count.
Scotland 15-16 Australia - Score summary
Scotland - Tries: Smith (11), Kinghorn (43). Cons: Kinghorn (44). Pens: Kinghorn (54). Yellow cards: Young (56).
Australia - Tries: Slipper (61). Cons: Foley (62). Pens: Foley (16, 40+1, 71).
Kinghorn struck for a superb counter-attacking try early in the second half, and then added a penalty for a nine-point lead, but a sin-binning for Scotland replacement second row Glen Young - who was fortunate to avoid a red card - saw Australia come back into it.
Wallabies skipper and loosehead James Slipper struck with Young off the park for Australia's only try, before Foley added a penalty inside the final 10 minutes as the visitors held on for the slenderest of victories.
With the match taking place outside the international window, the Scotland XV was made up entirely of Edinburgh and Glasgow players. Flanker Jamie Ritchie, 26, captained the side for the first time since it was announced last week that he would be replacing Stuart Hogg as skipper.
Australia arrived in Edinburgh under pressure after winning just three of their previous 12 matches, while they had also lost each of their last three meetings with the Scots.
The Wallabies started brightly, threatening the hosts' try-line on more than one occasion in the opening 10 minutes.
Scotland's headline team news saw the omission of playmaker Finn Russell from the entire autumn squad, and Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn starting in the No 10 shirt. Flanker Jamie Ritchie captained the side, with Exeter's Stuart Hogg - missing for this game - stripped of the captaincy. Ollie Smith started at full-back for his second cap.
For Australia, openside flanker Michael Hooper returned to the side for the first time since stepping away from the sport in July for his mental health, missing the 2022 Rugby Championship. Full-back Tom Banks, centre Hunter Paisami, scrum-half Tate McDermott and lock Nick Frost returned.
But it was Scotland who made the breakthrough when Glasgow full-back Smith, making his first appearance at Murrayfield too, received a lovely offload from Kinghorn and darted beyond a couple of opponents before planting the ball down left of the posts.
There were audible groans from the home support as Kinghorn spurned his conversion attempt from what appeared to be a perfectly kickable position.
This allowed the Wallabies to reduce the arrears to just two points in the 15th minute when Foley kicked a penalty from a central position after Ritchie was penalised at the breakdown.
Scotland should have stretched their lead in the 27th minute when Kinghorn looped a superb pass out to the right for Tuipulotu, but the Glasgow centre dropped the ball just as he looked set to burst over the line.
In the following phase of play, the Scots somehow failed to force their way over the line after a sustained spell of pressure in front of the Australia posts, but the visitors did superbly to hold the ball up.
The Scots were left to rue those moments of profligacy as another Foley penalty from 30 metres out on the stroke of half-time edged Australia in front after Dave Cherry failed to roll away.
But, three minutes after the restart, the Scots got themselves back in front when Kinghorn, under scrutiny as a result of taking Russell's place, seized on a loose ball in his own half, kicked it in behind the Wallabies' defence and raced on to it himself before kicking it forward again, collecting it just in front of the line and bounding gleefully over for a magnificent solo touchdown.
This time the Edinburgh number 10 made no mistake with the conversion, and then extended Scotland's lead to nine points with a penalty in the 54th minute.
The hosts appeared in the ascendancy and ready to put the Wallabies to the sword, but their momentum was halted in the 56th minute when, following a TMO review, Young was sent to the sin-bin for an illegal entry during a promising Scottish attack.
After an hour, amid a raft of substitutions, Jack Dempsey, who won 14 caps for Australia between 2017 and 2019, was introduced for his Scotland debut, the Sydney-born Glasgow flanker able to take advantage of a recent change in World Rugby's eligibility rules to switch allegiance.
Within seconds, however, the Wallabies made their extra man count when captain Slipper forced his way over on the right and Foley once again converted, bringing the visitors back to within two points.
Australia got their noses in front in the 70th minute with a Foley penalty.
Scotland had a chance to win it in the last minute, but Kinghorn's penalty drifted agonisingly wide.
Gregor Townsend's Scotland host Fiji at Murrayfield next Saturday, November 5, in a 1pm (GMT) kick-off for the second of their four autumn internationals this Test window.
Scotland's Autumn Internationals
|Saturday, October 29||Scotland 15-16 Australia||5.30pm|
|Saturday, November 5||Scotland vs Fiji||1pm|
|Sunday, November 13||Scotland vs New Zealand||2.15pm|
|Saturday, November 19||Scotland vs Argentina||3.15pm|
For Australia, Dave Rennie and co face a tough prospect as they travel to face France at the Stade de France in Paris, also on Saturday, November 5 (8pm GMT kick off).
Australia's Autumn Internationals
|Saturday, October 29||Scotland 15-16 Australia||5.30pm|
|Saturday, November 5||France vs Australia||8pm|
|Saturday, November 12||Italy vs Australia||1pm|
|Saturday, November 19||Ireland vs Australia||8pm|
|Saturday, November 26||Wales vs Australia||3.15pm|