The first World Cup was held in France in 1954 and was the first such tournament across both codes, this was the only tournament where Australia didn’t contest the final. Australia have won the Paul Barriere Trophy 11 times, including the last 2. I saw them beat New Zealand heavily at Old Trafford in 2013. This tournament will see history made again as the culmination of 3 formats with take place in Manchester over 24 hours, with the Wheelchair Final taking place on November 18th and the Men and Women’s Finals taking place at Old Trafford on the 19th.
This was highly likely to be a tough gig for Scotland, beaten by Italy in their opening game. A rainy night in Coventry saw Australia go on a try fest, a crowd of 10,276 saw 15 Australian tries scored with no reply from the Scots. It was an opportunity to witness the best in the world, bizarrely in spite of being beaten by 84 points this Scottish performance was a better one than the display against fellow minnows Italy in Round 1.
This is a game of momentum, with the kick off going back to the team in control and that was all with Australia. Josh Ado-Carr AKAk The Fox has been clocked at 40KPH and is the fastest man in the game, there was a focus on him in the TV coverage pre-game, he’s clearly a bright light in the team as well as being a skilful speed machine. He scored four tries on the night, including the final one of the evening which will be hard to beat as the try of the tournament. I was at the match as a Scotland fan but the skill and speed of this Australian team had to be admired..
It was almost hard to keep up with things in the first half as Australia, an early error by Scotland from the Australian kick off gave the Champions an early opportunity, Nathan Cleary pounced on a ball kicked through but Alex Walker had saved the day, touching the ball down before the Australian got to it. Scotland somehow won the ball back from the kick out but the ball was lost in the tackle and Australia went again, poor pass saw the ball go to ground and back into Scottish hands.
15 tries tells us all we need to know about the Australian attack, but their defence, as quantified by the zero against Scotland was also outstanding, the Scots just couldn’t make any in roads for the majority of the game. The first try came on 5 minutes as Ado-Carr took a high, floating pass to leap over the line. Nathan Cleary had floated the pass, his first conversion went wide of the posts but he kicked several outstanding extras during the game.
Jack Wighton scored the 2nd try of the evening after some strong work up the middle of the field from the forwards, he ran a great line to run in and score. Australia’s speed at. the play the ball making it very hard for Scotland to get their defence in the right areas. That was 1o nil with less than 12 minutes on the clock.
Watching back on the TV coverage and hearing the words, ‘back-rowers doing what back-rowers do, smacking people’. really isn’t great for this game, With the news around head injuries in both codes in recent years I do feel that league has a way to go on their ‘high shots’. I type this as Alex Walker gets hit high and late by a couple of forwards as he collected a high ball.
Australia touched down again after a high ball was spilled by Scotland the first Australian attacker missed the ball, but Angus Crichton had a simple touch down. I have to agree with the commentary that the decision by the Video Ref was painfully slow. that was 16 nil in just under 16 minutes.
Campbell Graham made it 20 in 20 minutes, eligible to play for Scotland he didn’t celebrate the score, the build up saw 2 cracking passes, Graham used all of his strength to get the ball down. The kick from the touch line was brilliant and made it 22 in 22 minutes.
Having kicked points and made a couple of tries Nathan Cleary side stepped his way through 4 or 5 Scottish defenders to score a try of his own, duAdoly converted as he’d gone in under the posts.
Scotland found a good attacking position turn into an exhibition of Ado-Carr’s speed as he a dropped ball was passed out to him, he fell two his knees at one point but eluded a couple of tap tackles to score an exhilarating try!
Jack Wighton scored his 2nd of the game, getting his line just right again this was a half of the pitch score again, with the ball going through several hands this time. The teams went in at half-time with the score on Scotland 0 Australia 40.
James Tedesco showed his dancing feet a minute into the 2nd half, he spun his way out of a tackle to score, the points exceeding the minutes for the first time in the game. A short kick off didn’t work for Scotland which saw them having to defend in their own half again, that led to Ben Hunt running through a gap to score. That saw the score move to 50 in 44 minutes.
Ado-Carr showed his heels again scoring his hat-trick try he reached down his wing again, you can only admire his talent. At 58 nil down Scotland didn’t give up in defence and that too had too be admired, they forced the handover in 53 minutes as the Australian got close to the line. Sadly the ball was kicked out on the full as play progressed, giving Australia another great attacking position. A penalty given away by Campbell Graham for taking the Scottish player out in the air gave them some respite. Again, it was good to see him check on the player on the ground.
A harsh penalty against Scotland close to their line saw Wighton pass to Graham, who side stepped the defender to touch down, the kick went wide but that was 62 in 59 minutes. There was a bit of aggro, pushing and shoving, which amounted to nothing, as did Graham’s next attempt to get over the on=ube as he was held up. However on his debut Matt Burton went over in space on the next play, the ball passing through several sets of hands before it went to him. Again, great play, another kick from the touch line soared over the posts to take Australia to 68 points.
Scotland got themselves into a great attacking position but a spilled ball from the final kick saw Ado-Carr speeding away again, the final to Cleary from Munster was forward however much to Scotland’s relief. The ball was stolen form Scottish hands a couple of times, and more than one there seemed to be more than one man in the tackle, yet that was allowed to carry on, I’m not aware that had changed? One such steel saw the ball go out to Graham for his hat-trick try, a simple touch down for him.
Australia hadn’t finished an d a high kick was tipped to Isiah Yeo who had a couple of steps to fall over the line, the kick took them to 80 points. The try of the game and possible of the tournament came from that man Josh Ado-Carr after a piece of brilliance from Matt Burton who flipped the ball back into the field of play through his legs, Ado-Carr kick the ball forwards to then pounce on the ball to score. This was a shout out loud brilliant try and apt and Ado-Carr had just been given the man of the match award.
Scotland showed great character in this game, which is an odd judgement when they were beaten by 84 points, they kept going for the full 80 minutes and will have headed away from Coventry with bruised bodies as well as egos. It’s hard to imagine who can stop this Australia team, I’m hoping to see England in the Final, but lay my eyes on New Zealand for the first time this tournament in Hull this evening.