Debut boy Ewan Ashman stepped off the bench after just ten minutes before sealing a memorable victory for Scotland over Australia in front of a capacity crowd at Murrayfield.
The Sale Sharks hooker produced a stunning try on the touchline to propel Gregor Townsend’s men to a two point victory in a thrillingly close match.
Hamish Watson’s try gave Scotland the first half lead but the Wallabies roared back in the second half with a score from Rob Leota.
Ashman’s flying finish set up a grandstand finish and the boot of Finn Russell sealed a victory to halt Australia’s run of five wins on the spin.
Hooker George Turner’s day came to an early end when he was forced off with a rib injury as Ashman made his unplanned early foray into the game.
It had been a frantic, ferocious opening quarter but neither side had any points to show for it – until Scotland turned up the heat at the set piece.
An offside penalty was kicked to the five metre line and the dark blues mixed up their line out play with Grant Gilchrist leading the maul.
Australia were caught off guard and the hosts powered over the line with Watson touching down. Russell converted to make it 7-0.
Dave Rennie’s side crossed the line twice but had both called back for infringements as Scotland lived dangerously.
First a tackle off the ball cancelled out Jordan Petaia’s run down the left wing.
Then Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa was sin binned after striking Matt Fagerson in the face while clearing the out the ruck before Michael Hooper thought he had crossed for a try.
The home scoreboard did not remain unblemished before the half was over though. James O’Connor kicked three points with just seconds remaining until the break.
The gold jerseys struck first in the second period when Leota hit a perfect line off scrum half Nic White to power across. O’Connor’s extras put the visitors ahead 10-7.
Scotland were dominant at the scrum and chose to go to their set piece twice five metres out. The pressure mounted on the gold shirts and eventually told.
It was already a day to remember for Ashman but when he was released one on one on the left wing he produced a stunning, airborne finish to restore the lead for the Scots by two points.
Just past the hour mark Ritchie was caught not rolling away at the ruck and O’Connor seized the opportunity to nudge Australia ahead again 13-12.
The Scottish props were changed but the Scottish scrum kept rolling and another penalty win was slotted by Russell as the minutes ticked away in a back-and-forth thriller.
The match was either team’s to win and just as looked like the tourists would edge into position to kick themselves to victory a crucial missed touch handed the momentum back to Scotland, who seized the moment to see out the game and claim the scalp of the world’s number three ranked team.
Scotland Player Ratings:
Stuart Hogg 8 – Had the crowd off their seats with some barnstorming breaks.
Darcy Graham 7 – Industrious and sharp but unable to fully escsape the shackles of the Wallabies defence.
Chris Harris 7 – Brought his trademark defensive excellence to the midfield battle
Sam Johnson 7 – Seering break in the second half and shows great rapport with his backline.
Duhan van der Merwe 6 – The British and Irish Lion was tightly marked all afternoon.
Finn Russell 7 – Did a lot of his best work with the boot and he kept the Australia backfield busy. Made some thrilling offloads as he carried to the line.
Ali Price 8 – Marshalled and led from the front in an engrossing battle with opposite number Nic White.
Pierre Schoeman 8 – Another huge shift in the loose while chipping in with the pressure in the scrum.
George Turner 5 – Replaced after 11 minutes with a rib injury.
Zander Fagerson 8 – Had the beating of Aussie loosehead James Slipper all day as Scotland dominated the scrum.
Sam Skinner 7 – Solid work in the boileroom but grasping at air when Leota broke through to score.
Grant Gilchrist 8 – A massive shift from the experienced Edinburgh lock who never took a backwards step against some huge Wallaby forwards.
Jamie Ritchie 8 – A constant thorn in the side, enjoying all the niggle and confrontation of a fiercely competitive test.
Hamish Watson 8 – Got involved on the floor and had to be sharp up against a quality Australian back row.
Matt Fagerson 7 – Showed off his footwork to break the gainline and always willing to find work in heavy traffic.
Replacements 8 – Ewan Ashman would not have envisaged seeing so much action on debut from the bench but he delivered a top class performance at hooker. Props continued the dominance in the scrum in the final 15 minutes.
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