12 Jun Taylor pleased with winning start as work begins Down Under
Assistant Coach Matt Taylor explained he was impressed with how quickly the squad took to new systems and plays under the direction of a new coaching team in Scotland’s five-try win over Italy in Singapore (34-13).
The Scots landed in Australia on Sunday ahead of their second test, have been through a day of recovery in the Sydney winter sunshine on Coogee beach and are now set to start work on improving their performance once again when they face the Wallabies at the Allianz Stadium this Saturday (17 June, kick-off 6am BST) – live on Sky Sports.
“As a coaching staff we were pleased with a lot of the work that we did, particularly when people like Gregor Townsend [Head Coach] and Dan McFarland [Assistant Coach] have brought in a lot of new systems. I thought the majority of our work was done pretty well,” explained Taylor.
“However, there are certainly things in particular that we’re going to improve, in a lot of areas.”
Scotland face an Australia side fresh from an impressive defeat of Fiji, with star full-back Isreal Folau scoring twice in a 37-14 win, to defeat Scotland’s next, and final, summer tour opponents.
It’s the national team’s first test in Australia in five years when – captained by last week’s two-time try-scorer Ross Ford – Scotland won 9-6 in inclement conditions in 2012.
Recent battles between the sides have been equally excruciatingly tight affairs, with the Wallabies edging out Scotland by a single point in the past two meetings; in agonising fashion in the recent Rugby World Cup (35-34) and the autumn test at BT Murrayfield in November, when the hosts outscored in their opponents in the try stakes but ultimately lost the game 23-22.
Taylor added: “If you look at Australia and how they played against Fiji [37-14], they’ve always been a brilliant attacking team and they showed that again.
“Right across the team they’re very good. People like Israel Folau played really well and they certainly used this in attack and kicked high balls to his wing.
“I think across the board, all the Australian players are really skilful and dangerous.
“We’ve had some close tussles with Australia over the years and I imagine we’re going to have another real close one, hopefully we can come out the winning side this time.
“I’ve played the Wallabies three times [as a Scotland coach] now and it’s always been in the UK so it’ll be a bit different over here in Australia. A lot of our squad have never been here before. They’re all quite excited about it and the knowledge that we’re in for a tough game.
“I think they [Australia] will have a big emphasis on defence. When they defend well they’re a really good team. You saw in the Rugby World Cup how well they defended against the likes of England and Wales.
“It’s going to be tough. There are obviously are few guys that aren’t here [following Lions selection] but from our point of view we’re excited about giving other guys an opportunity. Ben Toolis played really well at lock on the weekend. It’s great opportunity to test the guys coming in.
“Everyone at this stage is eligible for selection. There are a number of guys who have bumps and bruises two days after a test so the physio is having a look at them but nearly all of them look like they should be in pretty good position come tomorrow [Tuesday].”