Scotland 15-21 Australia
Israel Folau broke us, admits Scotland coach
November 24, 2013
Israel Folau bursts clear to score Australia's opening try against Scotland, Scotland v Australia, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, November 23, 2013
Israel Folau was at his damaging best against Scotland © Getty Images

Scotland coach Scott Johnson could only lament he didn't have his own Israel Folau. In a rugged Test on a boggy, shifting Murrayfield surface where attacking chances were few and far between, Folau was in a sure-footed class of his own as the Wallabies prevailed 21-15 on Saturday night.

The code-hopping fullback highlighted his immense worth to the Australian Rugby Union by scoring one try, helping to set up another and saving two others in a Man-of-the-Match display. His first-half five-pointer, streaking over from 25 metres out off a perfect inside ball from Quade Cooper, gave Folau his ninth try in 14 Tests.

He again soared to take high balls and counter-attack in an instant, picked the right moments to run from inside his half, and also combined with Cooper and Stephen Moore to put Chris Feauai-Sautia over for an exhilarating 43rd-minute try.

"He's a special athlete, a special player," marvelled former Wallabies backs coach Johnson. "Freakish athletes like that don't come along very much. We like to sit as coaches and take a lot of the credit for it but you can't put in what God left out and he stood in the front of a few genetic queues."

Making it harder to stomach for Johnson was the fact he was missing three of his most dangerous backs in Stuart Hogg, Tim Visser and Matt Scott.

"We have a significant proportion of our back divisions out but when you have players like (Folau) ... he broke us," the Scotland mentor said.

Cooper and Folau have quickly forged a powerful chemistry in nine starts together and the Wallabies promise to be a genuine 2015 IRB World Cup contender with that pair on song. The only player who can claim having something over Folau is rookie back Feauai-Sautia, who crashed over for his second try in his second Test to give him a 100 per cent strike-rate. The 20-year-old only got his run-on debut after Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Cummins were stood down for their late night in Dublin.

"I thought I wasn't going to get a chance to play (on tour)," he told AAP. "I'm thankful for getting the opportunity to start and making the most of it. It was great and I loved every minute. It's very good having two quality players inside you like Izzy and Quade. It gives you confidence and you know that they will do something special."

The youngster's efforts will give coach Ewen McKenzie food for thought selection-wise, with Adam Ashley-Cooper likely to return at outside-centre against Wales, and Cummins, Joe Tomane and the rookie vying for two wing spots.

Australia held on against Scotland to record a third-straight Test victory

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