Ritchie proud of Scotland resilience in Australia defeat

Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie took heart from his side's character following an agonising 16-15 loss to Australia in their Autumn international opener at Murrayfield.

The Scots were unfortunate to be 6-5 down at half-time on Saturday, having scored an excellent try through full-back Ollie Smith and then seen centre Sione Tuipulotu squander what seemed a certain five points by knocking-on in sight of Australia's line.

But Blair Kinghorn's fine solo effort early in the second half helped the hosts establish a 15-6 lead only for Australia to fight back before the fly-half missed a last-gasp chance to win the game for Scotland when a 40-metre penalty attempt drifted wide of the posts.

"We talked a lot in the week that there would be moments in the game when we might go behind and be under pressure and we spoke of fighting to get those moments back," said Ritchie.

"I think we did that well throughout the game. At the end we gave ourselves an opportunity to win it, but unfortunately it didn't go over. I'm proud of the boys and the way they performed. I'm confident we can learn lessons."

The flanker won several trademark turnovers and Ritchie added he had relished the responsibility of leading the team for the first time since succeeding Stuart Hogg as skipper.

"I think it went well," he said. "I thoroughly enjoyed it. I said from the get-go that I didn't want to change anything. I speak a lot as a player as it is -- just maybe people listen more to a captain."

- 'Outstanding Kinghorn' -

Kinghorn is not a regular goal-kicker for Edinburgh and the lack of a reliable performer off the tee may well have been influenced Scotland in their decision to repeatedly kick to the corners following earlier Australia infringements before the stand-off was left with an all-or-nothing chance late on.

Scotland will have England-based players such as Gloucester fly-half Adam Hastings available for their November 5 clash at home to Fiji after they missed an Australia match that fell outside World Rugby's designated window for end-of-year Tests.

Head coach Gregor Townsend has already taken the controversial decision to drop gifted No 10 Finn Russell --  who kicked 23 points for Paris-based Racing 92 in a 43-38 victory over Brive in France's Top 14 on Saturday -- from his entire squad for an Autumn programme that also sees Scotland up against New Zealand and Argentina.

But Ritchie had no doubt club colleague Kinghorn would emerge a stronger player from his Australia experience were he to retain the No 10 shirt against Fiji.

"Blair will bounce back, I know he will," said Ritchie.

"It's important that we get behind him because he did a lot of stuff really well...I thought he had an outstanding game all over the park. Then he missed one kick.

"Everyone makes mistakes and we had opportunities to win the game before that so it shouldn't have come down to it."

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