Australia 19-24 Scotland: Win down to skill, not just bravery, says John Barclay

Scotland
Scotland secured back-to-back victories over Australia having beaten the Wallabies in Newcastle in 2012

Scotland deserve more plaudits for their skill levels rather than being branded as just a side full of bravery, says captain John Barclay.

The Scots scored three tries - including a stunning touchdown from Hamish Watson - to register a 24-19 win over Australia in Sydney.

Barclay, while pleased with Scotland's defence, says the foundation for the victory was outstanding attacking play.

"We're scoring tries any team would be happy with," said the Scotland captain.

"A lot of people talk about how the Scots are brave. I don't think we speak enough about the skills that the guys have.

"Look at the tries we're scoring - I think it's brilliant. I think it's underplayed sometimes the skills the guys have."

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Proud day for Scotland, says Townsend

Duncan Taylor and Finn Russell scored first-half tries that were cancelled out by two from Australia full-back Israel Folau.

Will Genia's try after the break nudged the Wallabies in front. However, Watson finished off a stunning attack from deep to go over for what proved to be the match-winning score.

"That's length-of-the-pitch stuff," Barclay continued. "That takes a lot of skill, that's not bravery. That's what we work on at training and I think that's something we're starting to reap the rewards of.

"I think confidence grows from within. We're scoring some fantastic tries now and we're competing against the best teams in the world. We've got to take from that and build on that.

Finn Russell
Finn Russell, who scored in the win over Australia, will now join up with the British & Irish Lions squad in New Zealand

"Momentum is a really overused word but you have to use it and I think we have. We were confident coming down here. We don't come down here thinking maybe we can beat them. We came down here knowing if we play well, we felt like we can beat them today."

The win moves Scotland up to an all-time high of fifth in the world rankings. Head coach Gregor Townsend singled out Russell - called into the British and Irish Lions squad - for particular praise.

"Finn Russell was outstanding today," Townsend said. "He leads our attack but I thought he led our defence well, the amount of tackles he put in, body on the line stuff.

"If you've got your half-backs playing really well then that helps you in your attack.

"There were a couple of times Finn moved the ball from his own line. To do that in a Test match environment, when you are away from home against a very good side, just shows that he's confident enough that it's the right decision and the players will back him."

Barclay echoed his coach's assessment of Russell's performance, and believes the fly-half has matured into one of Scotland's leaders on the pitch.

"He's always had the skills but his composure on the pitch and the way he leads the team now, I think it breeds confidence to those around him," he said.

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