Holders Australia score 15 tries in ruthless thrashing of Scotland

Holders Australia score 15 tries in ruthless thrashing of Scotland

Australia kicked off the second round of matches in the 2021 World Cup in ominous fashion with a merciless 84-0 rout of Scotland in Coventry.

The Kangaroos showed their ruthless streak against their outclassed opponents, running in 15 tries without reply, four of them from pacey winger Josh Addo-Carr, in front of a 10,276 crowd at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

To compound the Bravehearts’ misery, fellow winger Campbell Graham, who was set to play for them before the Kangaroos came calling, scored a hat-trick on his debut.

Australia v Scotland – Rugby League World Cup – Group B – Coventry Building Society Arena
Josh Addo-Carr (right) scored four of Australia’s 15 tries (Mike Egerton/PA)

Scotland, with just four Super League players and Euan Aitken from the NRL, were simply no match for the superior pace and skill of their star-studded opponents, for whom not even the persistent rain could prove an obstacle.

Fresh from their opening 42-8 win over Fiji, Australia were able to bring in Penrith’s Grand Final-winning captain Nathan Cleary, who scored 28 points on his debut from a try and 12 goals, while loose forward Isaah Yeo and centre Matt Burton also scored on their first appearances.

The signs of a tough night were there from the start for Scotland, who lost 28-4 to Italy in their opening game, when half-back Bailey Hayward conceded a goal-line drop-out from the kick-off by putting a foot over the dead-ball line.

It was typical of the schoolboy error that Australia, the masters, were quick to punish.

Australia v Scotland – Rugby League World Cup – Group B – Coventry Building Society Arena
Isaah Yeo was one of a number of Australia debutants to score (Mike Egerton/PA)

There was an early let-off when Cleary failed to touch down Harry Grant’s grubber kick but his floated pass out to the wing on five minutes enabled Addo-Carr to open the scoring.

Centre Jack Wighton then sliced through paper-thin defence and second rower Angus Crichton pounced on Scotland winger Lachlan Walmsley’s failure to deal with Cleary’s high ball.

Graham opened his account but Cleary was never far from the action as the Scots struggled to get out of their own half. The Penrith star displayed some nifty footwork to score the next try from dummy half before Addo-Carr pounced on a dropped Scotland pass to race over from halfway for his second.

Wighton also grabbed a second try before half-time, when the Kangaroos led 40-0, and the interval offered only a brief respite as the Scotland defence cracked three more times inside the first eight minutes of the second half.

Substitute hooker Ben Hunt got his captain James Tedesco over for a try before finishing off a break by Cameron Munster and Addo-Carr went over straight from a scrum to complete his hat-trick.

Coach Mal Meninga could afford to take Tedesco off four minutes into the second half, with Valentine Holmes taking over at full-back, and the one-way traffic continued as Graham claimed a second try and went on to complete his hat-trick.

Burton scored on the overlap and Yeo got in on the act before Addo-Carr won the race to his own kick for his fourth try after Burton had miraculously kept the ball in play.