Australia are aiming to turn around their recent history of upset losses to Scotland when they meet at Murrayfield this weekend.
The Wallabies, as a group, have plenty to prove at Murrayfield this weekend as they attempt to shake the Scottish monkey off their backs.
But no individual feels it more than promoted centre Mike Harris who wants to show he’s learned his lesson on two fronts on Sunday morning (AEDT).
The Kiwi-born utility made his Test debut in the 9-6 upset loss in horrendous conditions in Newcastle last year, and has lived to rue the day.
With the score at 6-6 in the dying minutes after the Wallabies failed to covert their second-half dominance, Harris put up a bomb from well inside his half but could only watch in horror as the wild tail-wind saw it fly to the Scots’ quarter-line and then bounce dead.
From the ensuing scrum 25m out, Scotland received a penalty and then kicked the three-pointer for a memorable win.
“That was one of the toughest learning experiences you could have,” Harris said. “It was very disappointing to lose.
“It was something that I still don’t believe.
“I feel like I want to get one back. It’s definitely an opportunity and I feel I’ve got the opportunity now.”
Harris has got his chance through a hamstring strain to Matt Toomua, suspension to Tevita Kuridrani and also bans to wingers Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Cummins, two of six stood down for late-night drinking in Dublin.
Harris was among nine players also reprimanded for staying out late in Dublin so it is ironic that he’ll play when a call-up would not have occurred if the versatile Ashley-Cooper was available.
The Queensland inside centre, recruited from North Harbour by Ewen McKenzie in late 2010 when he was Reds coach, views the dramatic episode as another lesson to learn from.
The way Harris combines with makeshift centre partner Christian Leali’ifano – who has little experience at No.13 – will be intriguing, and Scotland will do their best to test the two.
“The thing with 13 it is one of the most difficult positions to defend,” said Scottish outside centre Nick De Luca.
De Luca played in the Newcastle win as well as the 9-8 boilover in Australia’s last visit to Murrayfield in 2009 when Matt Giteau missed a last-gasp conversion to win the game.
The 40-cap back admitted poor weather contributed to both results and knows the Wallabies won’t easily be ambushed again.
“They’ll think if it’s a dry day they’ll rip us to pieces but hopefully it’s a dry day and we can show we can compete,” De Luca said.
Scotland’s Australian coach Scott Johnson has warned his troops to tighten their game after gifting South Africa a few tries in their 28-0 win last weekend, rating the Wallabies among the best counter-attacking teams around.
“The two best teams in the world who can punish you are Australia and NZ,” he said. “They are pretty formidable.”