Talking points from Round 1 of the Autumn Nations Series

Scotland suffered an agonising 16-15 defeat to Australia in the opening clash of the Autumn Nations Series at BT Murrayfield.

Scotland suffered an agonising 16-15 defeat to Australia in the opening clash of the Autumn Nations Series at BT Murrayfield.

Blair Kinghorn’s late penalty sailed agonisingly wide to leave Gregor Townsend’s side suffering defeat against the Wallabies for the first time since 2016.

It was another incredibly tight affair, continuing the trend in recent years, with eight of the past nine matches between the two sides being decided by less than six points.

Scotland led for much of the game, but James Slipper’s try and Bernard Foley’s penalty 10 minutes from time broke Edinburgh hearts.


When Blair Kinghorn scored what can only be described as a wonder try early in the second half, Scotland were in dreamland.

BT Murrayfield was bouncing even louder when Kinghorn put Scotland 15-6 ahead with less than half an hour to go.

Celebrations proved to be premature though, with Australia managing to fight their way back into the game after Glen Young’s yellow card, and with the clock hitting the 80-minute mark Kinghorn must have been wondering how he was suddenly kicking to win it.

Scotland were, for much of this game, in charge, with more possession and more chances, they scored two excellent tries through Ollie Smith and Kinghorn and probably could have scored more.

With Kinghorn’s kick narrowly missing and Scotland failing to take their chances they were left with that familiar horrible feeling by full-time – what if?


The Autumn Nations Series gets into full swing this week with six matches, meaning there was a full weekend of domestic action this weekend and Wales head coach Wayne Pivac will have been much happier than last week.

After two weekends in a row of bad injury news for Pivac, with Dewi Lake and George North suffering injuries, Wales’ young star Louis Rees-Zammit lit up the Kingsholm turf as Gloucester beat Exeter Chiefs 38-22 on Friday night.

The 21-year-old winger was in fine form, scoring a wonderful try of his own before setting up two more as Gloucester continued their superb form.

Rees-Zammit was not the only Welsh star in action in the Gallagher Premiership, with Nick Tompkins of Saracens also excelling.

After a yellow card for a high tackle, Tompkins redeemed himself with a superb piece of goal line defending, and he was useful at the other end of the pitch too, diving onto a loose ball to secure a bonus point and a 33-22 victory for Saracens.


Much of the attention in the build-up to the Autumn Nations Series for Scotland and Townsend was Finn Russell’s absence from the Scotland squad.

Kinghorn put in an excellent performance which has led to players and Townsend alike defending him, but Russell was once again in fine form for Racing 92 at the weekend.

In Racing’s 43-38 victory over Brive, Russell scored 23 points as they rose to sixth in the table – with French starlets Nolann Le Garrec and Max Spring crossing for tries.

Townsend has made it clear Kinghorn is their number one this autumn, but if Russell keeps up this form it will be difficult not to bring him back into the fold at some point.


Tommaso Allan has got used to playing second fiddle, sitting behind two of the Guinness Six Nations’ most talented stars in Paolo Garbisi for country and Marcus Smith for club.

It is a role that he also excels in, performing excellently for the Azzurri in the summer and scoring two tries in Harlequins’ last gasp 26-24 win over London Irish on Saturday – earning player of the match.

Garbisi will surely be the starting fly-half for Italy next week against Samoa, but Kieran Crowley has been given a slight selection headache thanks to the form of Allan, although there are far worse problems to have than two excellent fly-halves.