6 Nations: Scotland player ratings – versus France

A big impact from the away team bench during the final quarter changed the momentum of a game which had previously been dominated by the home side

Blair Kinghorn
Blair Kinghorn looks to the sky in despair at the end of Scotland's Six Nations defeat to France. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson

15. Blair Kinghorn – 7 out of 10

Jittery early on when he coughed up what should have been a routine tidy-up to gift France possession in seventh minute, and was incredibly fortunate that Antoine Dupont knocked on as he looked to send what would otherwise have been a scoring pass to Damian Penaud on the wing. Dropped a pass from Horne which was perhaps slightly low, but was still catch-able, and it took some excellent cover work from Maitland to prevent a try. But came onto a game, working hard in defence and always looking to attack. Quick feet and dangerous one-on-one as the games top carrier with the game’s top carrier with 181 metres gained. Kicked well from hand and his restarts were excellent – but unfortunately Scottish forwards did not take full advantage.


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14. Tommy Seymour – 6

Asked questions with the few opportunities he got. Beaten on the outside by Bastaruaud in the first half, and became slightly detached when the replacements added some impetus during the final quarter.

13. Nick Grigg – 5

Lost possession in contact in midfield with his first real carry and was lucky that an innocuous knock-on deprived France their opening try. Worked hard, but when Huget ripped the ball from him grasp towards the end it felt a bit like witnessing the French winger taking candy from a baby. Chopped Bastereaud at every opportunity. There is no doubting the size of his heart, but, unfortunately for him, modern international rugby requires more than that.

12. Sam Johnson – 6

Tried manfully to inject some momentum with ball in hand but was continually swallowed up by France’s suffocating push defence before giving way to Peter Horne returning from and HIA in 53 minutes. Good line-speed in defence.

11. Sean Maitland – 6

Clobbered when collecting the kick-off, and while Scotland managed to pick-up a ruck penalty on that occasion, that moment set the tone for the afternoon – French power dominated but their inaccuracy at key moments allowed Scotland to stay in the hunt. He was the first man beaten in Thomas Ramos’ electrifying break-out and perhaps could have done more to slow the flying full-back’s progress. Got back well to rescue the situation after Kinghorn dropped Horne’s loose pass, and came off his wing to cut France open from a pre-planned line-out move, but didn’t have the gas to finish it and needed Seymour to run a more helpful line. Replaced by Darcy Graham on 64 minutes.

10. Peter Horne – 6

A tough afternoon. His snatched pass to Kinghorn’s knees almost gifted France their second try on 17 minutes. Managed to sniff out a half gap past the lumbering Bastareaud which sparked Scotland’s first real period on the front foot around the 20 minute mark, and was knocked into the middle of next week by Gulheim Guirado with his next possession but held onto the ball, which meant Scotland got an opportunity to open their account a few phases later – but unfortunately Laidlaw missed his shot at goal. Lost a high ball under pressure, and was lucky Wenceslas Lauret knocked on as he gathered because France were on their way to a second try. Kept plugging away, even after moving to centre, and his perseverance got some reward when his fine break created Price’s consolation score.

9. Greig Laidlaw – 6

Hit the post with his first penalty which was uncharacteristic and costly in terms if the general momentum of the game. Nailed his second one from in front of the sticks to finally get Scotland into the match on 25 minutes. Couldn’t get much going round the edges which meant France’s powerful backline had a field day bowling down their opposite numbers when Scotland tried to go wide. Hung in there and kept the team battling against the tide before being replaced by Ali Price on 64 minutes.

Apartments in Leith

1. Allan Dell – 7

A great snaffle early on, Scotland’s top tackler with 20 and was one of the few players in the home team to look genuinely dynamic on the ball. Under pressure at scrum time from Demba Bamba throughout, and didn’t have an answer when the Frenchman came in with the big one. Replaced by Alex Allan on 64 minutes.

2. Stuart McInally – 6

Worked hard in the loose, but must shoulder some of the culpability for a shaky line-out. Maybe there is a case for cutting back to less ambitious calls in crunch situations, Replaced by Fraser Brown on 64 minutes.

3. Simon Berghan – 6

Pretty quiet 64-minutes all round before being replaced by Zander Fagerson. Compare and contrast with the impact French tight-head Demba Bamba had in the tight and loose.

4. Grant Gilchrist – 7

Was beaten to the first line-out when Scotland were really flustered. His work-rate was astronomical from the first minute to the last, with a couple of huge tackles, but another needless penalty did not help the cause.

5. Jonny Gray – 6

Really struggled to impose himself and was replaced by Ben Toolis on 54 minutes.

6. Magnus Bradbury– 6

A really tough assignment in only his second game back after four months out with a dislocated shoulder, and the big flanker struggled with the pace at times, but was still hanging in there in the 80th minute.

7. Jamie Ritchie – 7

A useful option at the front of the line-out, and battled away with his usual conviction, making 19 tackles and 15 carries, but struggled to impose himself against huge French pack in the same way as he did against Italy and Ireland.

8. Josh Strauss – 6

A difficult afternoon  fighting a rear guard action against Louis Picamoles, but by and large he managed to hold the line. Offered himself up as a carrier early on but without much reward, before running out of steam and being replaced by Gary Graham on 64 minutes.

Replacements

16. Fraser Brown – 6

Scotland’s depth (or lack of it) in key positions has been under the microscope in recent weeks, but hooker is one area where they are in pretty good shape, with Brown showing up well during his 16 minutes, and George Turner fit again and ready to push hard for a squad place.

17. Alex Allan– 5

Replaced Allan Dell with 16 minutes to go. Scotland’s scrum had no answer when France squeezed their way to that bonus point try at the death.

18. Zander Fagerson – 5

Popped out the scrum in lead-up to third French try. He will have had two more weeks to get back up to full match fitness after five months out recovering from a broken leg, which will be a big bonus for the final two rounds of this Six Nations campaign.

19. Ben Toolis – 5

Played most of the second half, but it was only when head coach Gregor Townsend cleared his bench in the final quarter that the momentum of this game looked like shifting.

20. Gary Graham – 7

Got seven more minutes than on his debut against Italy, and used the opportunity to make his mark with some real aggression in  attack, defence and, perhaps, off the ball.

21. Ali Price – 7

Injected pace after replacing Laidlaw in 64th minute. Finished off Scotland’s try in 77th minute to add some respectability to the score and briefly open up the possibility of a bonus point for the visitors.

22. Adam Hastings – 7

Made an immediate impact with an interception which got Scotland off the hook five yards from the line. A wonderful weaving run raised spirits just after the hour mark and seemed to have time on the ball when so many of his team-mates were clearly feeling harassed in possession.

23. Darcy Graham – 7

Another replacement to make a real impact through his pace, bravery and energy.


France v Scotland: sorry Scots end up second best by some distance

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David Barnes
About David Barnes 1413 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

5 Comments

  1. Were you at the same game.? Grigg tackled his heart out. Laidlaw ponderous. Horne poor. Jonny Gray on Valium?I think you’ve over rated most of them by 1 or 2 points. However, will try not to kick a team when it’s down So many innocents out there.

  2. For the 23 players at a combined rating of 142/230 is around 6.2 per player.

    This feels very, very generous. We were abysmal.

  3. Wondering what game you were watching. I’m no big Grigg fan but he was one
    of our better players. 5/10 l!! go learn about rugby then comment

  4. On what world do any of the players (bar Kinghorn) deserve > 6? Coach and players alike, it was shocking.

  5. Says it all when 4 of the subs got a higher score than the starting 15. Toony takes the blame clearly.

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