Australia ended this Rugby World Cup 2021 game with 13 players, but managed to defeat Scotland 14-12 after being behind at half-time.
This was a pulsating 80 plus minutes at Northland Events Centre in Whangārei, with Scotland dominating the first half to lead 12-0.
Australia got their running game going in the second half and their pressure paid off with two converted tries to give them their first win in the tournament this year. Scotland, after a close loss to Wales in week one, picked up a second losing bonus point.
Scotland, 10th in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini, took the lead in the ninth minute through a try from hooker Lana Skeldon from a driving lineout. Fly-half Helen Nelson could not convert and it was 5-0.
Sixth in the world Australia were trying to get a foothold in the game and they began getting the ball to exciting players like centre Sharni Williams and winger Maya Stewart.
However, it was Scotland who nearly went further ahead when winger Rhona Lloyd burst through only for Australia full-back Lori Cramer to deny her with a last gasp tackle.
Try number two did come in the 27th minute when Scotland used their driving lineout to good effect, Skeldon peeling off the back to power to just about get there before Lauren Jenner, the referee, awarded a seven point penalty try.
Australia were 12-0 down and, to add insult to injury, their hooker Adiana Talakai was yellow carded.
The Wallaroos skipper Shannon Parry then went off to be replaced by Ashley Marsters so that the latter could play hooker.
Australia did well to survive the 10 minutes while they were down to 14 players and, just as Parry was returning to the fray, they got themselves near the Scotland try line.
That chance was created by a great run by tight-head prop Eva Karpani, but before half-time they could not convert that territory into points while Scotland lost full-back Chloe Rollie to injury, replaced by Shona Campbell.
Australia had the wind advantage in the second period and were keen to get on the scoreboard as soon as they could.
Number eight Grace Hamilton and Mastercard Player of the Match Karpani were the ones making good yards, but the Scottish defence was standing firm.
That was until just before the hour mark when the team created space and winger Bienne Terita, who crossed twice versus New Zealand last weekend, scored a try. Cramer converted and it was 12-7.
With 10 minutes to go that was still the score and it was going to be a tight finish.
And with seven minutes to play Australia drew level at 12-12 when Masters ran a great line and powered over for a try. Cramer converted and they were 14-12 up.
The drama continued and with four minutes to go Marsters was red carded for direct head contact with Scotland replacement Sarah Law.
Scotland tried to get the winning points, but Australia held on to win despite Talakai receiving her second yellow card and a red as a result with the clock in the red.