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November 23, 2009

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Scots spring surprise on Wallabies

SCOTLAND stunned Australia 9-8 and New Zealand continued its perfect touring record to beat England on Saturday, while Wales outclassed Argentina and South Africa finally won a match in Europe with victory over Italy.

Australia flyhalf Matt Giteau missed an injury-time conversion after a try by Ryan Cross for the Scots, who led 9-3 after two penalties by Phil Godman and a drop goal by Chris Paterson, to end 16 straight losses to the Wallabies dating back to 1981.

"The error rate was something that really hurt us," said Australia captain Rocky Elsom, adding that Giteau was still the right choice to kick the vital conversion attempt. "If I was going to give a crucial kick to anyone, it would be Matt. He's our kicker and he's the best we've got."

Scotland coach Andy Robinson, who used to be in charge of England, praised his team's aggressive defense.

"I've said to the team that is the most courageous performance I've ever been involved in," he said. "The amount of ball that we gave Australia to play with throughout the game and the courage that the players had to get up and keep knocking them over (was exceptional)."

New Zealand scored 13 unanswered second-half points and denied the opposition a try for a third straight game for a 19-6 win at Twickenham, with flyhalf Dan Carter becoming the All Blacks' all-time leading scorer on his return from suspension.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry said his team's performance was the best of its three so far.

"We're delighted with that. You're always disappointed when you don't finish off more chances, but we played some quality rugby."

But England can be happier too after mostly matching the visitors and trailing by just three points until All Blacks scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan touched down in the 57th minute.

"It may not have been reflected in what we did on the field, and people may disagree with that based on what they've seen," team manager Martin Johnson said. "But as a group of players who came together a few weeks ago with the injuries we had, I think they have been fantastic."

Carter converted for two of the 14 points that took him ahead of Andrew Mehrtens to 980 as New Zealand's all-time leading scorer.

Jonny Wilkinson scored two penalties for England.

New Zealand faces France this weekend before rounding off its European tour with a match against the Barbarians. It has beaten Wales and Italy without conceding a try.

Bryan Habana, Jacque Fourie, Fourie Du Preez and Wynand Olivier all touched down for South Africa on Saturday, while Morne Steyn kicked 10 points and substitute Ruan Pienaar added a late conversion in the 32-10 victory over Italy.

The Boks had previously lost to Leicester, France and Saracens.

In Cardiff, Stephen Jones scored 17 points and Shane Williams scored his 47th and 48th tries as Wales beat Argentina 33-16.

France scored seven tries to overwhelm Samoa 43-5 while Keith Earls scored two of Ireland's five tries and Jonathan Sexton kicked 16 points on his debut in a 41-6 romp over Fiji in Dublin.


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