Ben Mowen praises team unity after tough week

EDINBURGH: Ben Mowen has paid tribute to the back-up players who stepped into the breach against Scotland after four of the Wallabies' starting players fell to injury or suspensions.

The Wallabies captain singled out 20-year-old winger Chris Feauai-Sautia for his role in Australia's gutsy 21-15 defeat of Scotland on Saturday.

The Queensland rookie made his first start for the Wallabies alongside Joe Tomane after incumbent wingers Nick Cummins and Adam Ashley-Cooper were suspended for staying out late drinking in Dublin last week.

"Credit to a lot of the guys who had been working extremely hard outside of the 23 players each week and got their opportunity," Mowen said.

"For [Feauai-Sautia] to get that try tonight was really important for the momentum of the side.

"When you have guys like that who are wearing a bib for most of the tour and then coming in and scoring a try, I think that speaks loads about our squad mentality being over here."

Mowen said the suspension scandal that hit the squad this week - resulting in the standing-down of six players and written or verbal warnings for a further nine - had brought the Wallabies closer together.

"It made us a little bit tighter, because you see guys who were extremely disappointed to miss out," he said.

"We wanted a strong win to show people that this group is well and truly united and I thought we got that tonight.

"There was great spirit in that win, guys worked extremely hard for each other against a very spirited Scottish side that just kept coming.

"To go three wins on the trot coming into a big Test week to finish off the year, I think that says a lot about the character of the guys where it just wasn't a throwaway Test, it was extremely important for us.

"It was a huge result for us."

Coach Ewen McKenzie said he had expected a fight from Scotland, who spent almost 30 minutes in Australia's half at the back end of the match.

"There was never any doubt it was going to be a complicated game, I don't think anyone thought otherwise," McKenzie said.

"It's never been easy to come and play here, I felt we did a pretty good job given all the circumstances and we handled the night alright.

"We didn't have a lot of ball, we tackled pretty well and scored a couple of tries.

"It was a bit too close, if we'd converted some of our penalty opportunities it would have made it a little bit easier, but for me it was a performance about character and that shone through in the end."

Christian Leali'ifano was handed the kicking duties from Quade Cooper when he was named at No.13 for the match.

Easily the Wallabies most accurate goal kicker, Leali'ifano missed four penalty goals and a conversion.

"Every goal kicker has an off day, he's kicked so many goals in his short Test career, so I don't judge him too harshly on that, that's just the way it is sometimes," McKenzie said.

The Murrayfield surface, plagued by worms which forced organisers to re-lay the turf before the autumn internationals, looked sandy and loose during the match.

"I don't think it was easy. Quade was kicking the restarts and I think they found it pretty difficult and a pretty difficult surface to play on," McKenzie said.

"We played on it once, Scotland has a little bit more practice, but these things happen around the world, surfaces get afflicted, but you can't do much about it, you have to ride it out.

"It was the same for both teams, we've got no complaints about that."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop