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Stat Attack: the best stats from Round 1

Stat Attack: the best stats from Round 1

2022 Autumn International, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh 29/10/2022 Scotland vs Australia Australia’s Folau Fainga’a and Nic White celebrate at the final whistle Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Round 1 of the Autumn Nations Series saw Australia snatch the spoils in a dramatic 16-15 win over Scotland at BT Murrayfield. 

The Wallabies ended their recent run of defeats against Scotland in style, coming back from 15-6 down with 20 minutes to go.

James Slipper’s try and Bernard Foley’s penalty put Australia into the lead before Scotland fly-half Blair Kinghorn’s missed attempt at goal in the final moments proved decisive.

Unable to watch the match and want to know more about what happened in Edinburgh? We have you covered with all the key stats from the Autumn Nations Series opener.

SMITH IMPRESSES ON HOME DEBUT 

With Stuart Hogg unavailable in the opening round, 22-year-old Ollie Smith was presented with a perfect opportunity to showcase his talent in front of a home crowd for the first time.

It did not take him long to impress the Scottish supporters – scoring a wonderful try in the corner as he stepped inside two defenders to score his first Scotland try.

It was not just this try that caught the eye though, with Smith making 71 metres – comfortably ahead of second-best Rob Valetini’s 50.

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Incredibly, the Glasgow Warriors full-back also beat seven defenders – three more than teammate Sione Tuipulotu as he set the BT Murrayfield turf alight.

Hogg will be back available next week for Scotland, but after Smith’s stunning performance in Round 1, there is a genuinely difficult decision to be made for Gregor Townsend.

FROST DEFENSIVE MASTERCLASS SHUTS OUT SCOTLAND 

This was an incredibly tight match between two excellently drilled teams, with some very fine margins deciding the contest.

Overall, it was Australia who spent marginally more time in defence than attack, making 131 tackles to Scotland’s 110, with the Wallabies also missing slightly more tackles than the home side (20 compared to 13).

There was one man for Australia who really led from the front in defence – second row Nick Frost, who made an astonishing 18 tackles, putting him ahead of tackle machines Hamish Watson (17) and Michael Hooper (15) – not bad for someone on just their sixth cap.

WALLABIES BRING POWER GAME 

Scotland had narrowly more of the ball than Australia (55% of possession compared to 45%) and as a result made more carries – 90 compared to 77.

Incredibly though, it was Australia and not Scotland who made more metres, with the Wallabies racking up 469 metres carried (6.1 metres per carry) and Gregor Townsend’s men making 442 metres (4.9 metres per carry) – that extra power the Wallabies brought proved to be a key difference between the two sides.

DISCIPLINE AN ISSUE FOR BOTH SIDES 

Neither side were innocent when it came to penalties conceded, with referee Luke Pearce awarding a total of 29 penalties in the match.

Australia came on the wrong side of that count by one, conceding 15 penalties to Scotland’s 14 – with the final penalty almost proving to be one too many – but Kinghorn could not quite make the Wallabies pay.

SCOTLAND LEFT TO RUE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES? 

There is no doubt that Townsend and Scotland will have been frustrated with how this game finished – having the lead for much of the match and certainly their fair share of opportunities.

With Smith racking up metres and Kinghorn’s sensational score they almost did enough anyway, but in breaking 20 tackles (seven more than Australia’s 13), Scotland will perhaps rightly feel they could have added more points to their total and secured the victory.

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