Rugby World Cup thriller: Wallaroos win Scotland despite red cards.

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By Creative Media News

Australia’s Women’s Rugby World Cup dreams were revived when Ashley Marsters scored a try in the 73rd minute to secure a remarkable comeback victory against Scotland in their second match of the competition in Whangarei, New Zealand.

After their tragic collapse against New Zealand’s Black Ferns in the opening round, the Wallaroos trailed the whole match against Scotland before scoring twice in the closing 20 minutes to secure a crucial first victory of the tournament. Eva Karpani, Grace Hamilton, and Sharron Williams of Australia were outstanding in the victory.

Rugby world cup thriller: wallaroos win scotland despite red cards.
Rugby world cup thriller: wallaroos win scotland despite red cards.

Shannon Parry, captain of the Wallaroos, stated that it “wasn’t nice” but praised her team’s tenacity in the face of adversity. “It was frightening. It was a very difficult game against Scotland; they showed us how to play rugby today,” Parry said to Stan Sport. “I am quite proud. We fought valiantly until the final whistle – an 80-minute effort – and to emerge victorious is a fantastic reward.

We did not play as well or as effectively as we desired, but we’ll take the three points. The fact that we are still alive in this tournament is what matters.”

The Wallaroos’ victory resulted in consecutive last-second defeats for the Scots. Participating in their first Rugby World Cup in 12 years, Scotland lost a heartbreaker in the opening round against Wales last week, when Keira Bevan’s post-siren penalty turned what could have been a historic comeback triumph into a narrow 18-15 loss.

11 years after making her Test debut for Scotland against the Netherlands, veteran front-rower Lana Skeldon scored the opening five-pointer for Scotland in the ninth minute from a maul, shocking the Wallaroos into an early deficit.

In the eighteenth minute, the powerful Scottish winger Rhona Lloyd seemed set to score a try. Lloyd, after recovering from Iliseva Batibasaga’s bone-jarring tackle to retrieve the lost ball behind her, dipped under a group of gold defenders into a gaping hole and then flew into the gap with the line wide open.

But, in desperate conditions, Wallaroos winger Maya Stewart and fullback Lori Cramer raced in from the left and right, respectively, to hit Lloyd from each side and cause her to lose possession of the ball just before she crossed. It was tremendous save that proved essential to the eventual outcome.

Especially when the Scots scored a penalty try in the 27th minute when Adiana Talakai impeded a forward push to the line and was then sent off with a yellow card. The seven-point gift was accentuated by Talakai’s dismissal. It increased Scotland’s halftime lead to 12-0 and left Australia’s World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.

In their first pool encounter at Eden Park, the Wallaroos defended resolutely and capitalized on opportunities in attack and counterattack to lead 17-0 at halftime. The Wallaroos surrendered 41 unanswered points to the Black Ferns in the second half in front of more than 40,000 New Zealand supporters.

They were similarly confused at halftime against Scotland, but for quite different reasons. Australia had made 239 meters to Scotland’s 142, with 110 passes to Scotland’s 32, as 19-year-old Bienne Terita, in her third Test, wreaked havoc and veteran Sharni Williams, in her fourth World Cup, tore apart the middle.

Despite holding 63% of the ball in the first half, the Wallabies surrendered 65% of the field to the Scots in the opening 40 minutes. The second amazing statistic was that the Australians had only made 22 of 28 tackles, while their opponents had made an astounding 81 of 97 tackles. Despite making all of the running, the Wallaroos lagged.

After twenty minutes of the second period, Australia still had not scored. However, with the strong Whangarei wind at their back, they finished quickly. Arabella McKenzie was halted just short of the goal line, and then Eva Karpani was halted as Australia pushed through 10 phases with a penalty advantage.

Finally, the blue wall gave way as Scotland ran out of players, and a cutout pass from McKenzie to Terita resulted in a straightforward try and a 12-7 advantage after the conversion.

In the 71st minute, Australia pushed Scotland off the ball to earn a penalty and three points for a 30-meter-out attacking scrum. Teresita’s incredible carry-off in the scrum victory advanced the ball to the 22 before Scotland committed an infraction in front of the posts. Australia opted for another scrum and went left, eventually finding Marsters storming in at first receiver on an angle to split the line and score a touchdown.

Cramer added the extras to give Australia a 14-12 lead with 8 minutes remaining. When Marsters was red-carded in the 76th minute for head-on-head contact with Sarah Law, the game took an unexpected turn as Australia was forced to play with only 14 players.

Australia was reduced to 13 players after Talakai’s tackle brought her yellow card into the red zone, resulting in a second red card. Although the Scots launched new waves of attack, the Wallaroos’ gold line held firm until the final whistle to secure a valiant victory.

Australia will meet Wales at the Northland Events Centre in Whangarei next Saturday with the knowledge that a win should guarantee progression to the quarterfinals, even though the late red cards issued to both hookers leave the team vulnerable moving forward. Scotland’s challenge becomes more difficult as they face New Zealand in their last pool match.

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