TWICKENHAM, October 18- Australia fans had the last laugh as they silenced the Scots inside Twickenham on Sunday with a last-minute penalty to book their place in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
Scotland fans were bouncing around in delirium as their team seemed set to pull off a shock victory and become the only northern hemisphere side in the last four.
But Bernard Foley’s last-gasp kick meant the Aussie minority got the upper hand, despite the boos ringing round the stadium, and a 35-34 win.
Supporters heading to the ground were treated to a clarinet rendition of “Waltzing Matilda” and a kilted bagpiper playing the “Star Wars” theme tune.
Fans posed in front of the Scotland squad bus with home-made “50 shades of Richie Gray” signs in honour of the lock with the peroxide blond locks.
When the teams were announced, Australia supporters cheered the names of captain Stephen Moore and Matt Giteau as they both prepared to play in their 100th Test.
The teams walked onto the pitch greeted by fireworks and the white noise of the pumping Twickenham sound system. Giteau dashed out a little too close to the jets of flame and quickly changed direction.
Scotland supporters were clearly in the majority among the 77,110 at the home of English rugby.
They were joined by Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter Princess Anne, patron of the Scottish Rugby Union, who was in the VIP seats wearing a tartan scarf.
After full-throated renditions of “Flower of Scotland” and “Advance Australia Fair”, Scotland’s Finn Russell got the match under way.
Despite Australia scoring a try and dominating the opening 10 minutes, it was the Scots making all the noise in the stadium.
And they had plenty to cheer as captain Greig Laidlaw’s kicking and Peter Horne’s try put Scotland 13-5 ahead, sending chants of “Scotland! Scotland! Scotland!” rolling round Twickenham again.
Foley missed a third conversion just before the break, giving the Scots a 16-15 lead to contemplate at half-time.
– Scots nervous –
Malcolm Thomson, from Edinburgh, wearing a horned Viking Scots hat, said despite the scoreline, Scotland would probably lose.
“It’s a big surprise. I didn’t expect us to be so competitive early on,” he said.
“They’ve far exceeded expectations. But the Aussies look like real class. I don’t even want to dream about victory.”
Meanwhile Stephen Gosling, from Brisbane, carrying a couple of pints of lager, said: “The Scots are putting up great resistance. I hope for the second half we can go back to playing the Australian game and get us through to next week.”
Scots fans booed when straight after the break, Sean Maitland was sin-binned and Drew Mitchell touched down again.
But they were bouncing around with delight and broke out the bagpipes when Russell’s charge-down led to Tommy Seymour crossing the line.
The heavens opened with 10 minutes to go, which seemed to fire up Scotland fans even more.
And there was delirium in the 74th minute when Mark Bennett intercepted a James Slipper pass and charged in under the posts, a try converted to give Scotland a 34-32 lead.
But when Foley kicked his winning penalty — despite deafening boos — the Aussies had the final word.