6 Nations: Scotland player ratings – versus Ireland

Finn Russell, Jamie Ritchie and Josh Strauss all impress again but home team come up short

Stuart McInally
Scotland hooker Stuart McInally drives into Aki Bundee and Jack Conan. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson

15. Stuart Hogg – 6 out of 10

Looked in the mood with a few lively interjections early-on but had to go off with a shoulder injury in 16th minute after being floored by a late challenge from Peter O’Mahony.

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14. Tommy Seymour – 6

Moment of madness when he tracked back to tidy-up a chip ahead then fired an uncatchable pass at Sean Maitland which flew over the centre’s shoulder to gift Conor Murray Ireland’s opening score. Heroic leap to claim a Laidlaw box-kick, and generally a handful for Ireland to deal with on the right wing, although he will be frustrated that he slightly overran Huw Jones when Scotland had an overlap in the last play of the first half. Had a really bad fumble on 63 minutes.

13. Huw Jones – 6

Made a meal of collecting Ireland’s restart after Laidlaw’s early penalty gifted Ireland their first chance to establish themselves in the game, and they scored a few minutes later. Just isn’t quite hitting his straps at the moment.

12. Sam Johnson – 7

Another assured performance. Blistering line-speed made it hard for Ireland to build pressure during the first half, was direct and generally made the right calls with ball-in-hand and read Russell brilliantly for Scotland try. Was replaced by Horne with 16 minutes to go.

11. Sean Maitland – 6

Scotland made too many mistakes and the winger had  his fair share. Assured under the high ball and constantly looking for work, but just seemed a touch rusty.

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10. Finn Russell – 8

What a man! Read Carbery’s pass to Rory Best brilliantly for an interception, didn’t have the legs to run it in from 45-yards but, when Earls got him down just short of the line, he had the presence of mind and technical ability to judge a delayed pop off the deck brilliantly for Sam Johnson to run onto for Scotland’s opening try. That was the most notable of several flashes of brilliance during a maestro-like first-half performance. Kicked brilliantly, setting the Irish back-three no end of questions. Kept trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat but dropped balls all around him meant that it wasn’t going to be Scotland’s day.

9. Greig Laidlaw – 6

Usual solid game. Couldn’t quite get the zip into Scotland’s game they needed to really stress their opponents, and became increasingly frustrated by Ireland’s ability to slowdown ball. Intercepted by Sexton when trying to spark something in the first half.
Replaced by Ali Price in 69th minute.

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1. Allan Dell – 6

A difficult afternoon in the scrum.  Showed up well around the park generally with 22 tackles, but got side-tracked by his desire to make contact with Sexton regardless of whether the Irish stand-off had the ball which perhaps left Stuart McInally exposed for Stockdale’s try, and collided with Harley which allowed Carbery through in the lead-up to but Earls’ try. Replaced by Jamie Bhatti with 11 minutes to go.

2. Stuart McInally – 7

Brushed off by Stockdale in lead-up to second Irish try, but made some amends with a huge tackle on Earls which earned a holding-in penalty as Ireland tried to turn the screw at the start of the second half, and a fantastic rip on Best earned another important turnover not long later. Had problems finding his man at the line-out, but not clear whether it was his fault, or the jumpers, or the call. Replaced by Brown on 64 minutes.

3. Simon Berghan – 6

Hard going in scrum, but more or less worked his way through it. Offered himself up in the loose but zero yards gained from six carries is a fairly telling statistic. Replaced by D’Arcy Rae with 11 minutes to go.

4. Grant Gilchrist – 6

Big effort in defence wth 24 tackles but struggled to impose himself in the way he has in recent outings.

5. Jonny Gray – 6

Previous heroics in the jersey justified decision to bring the second-row straight back in ahead of in-form Ben Toolis, and jury is out on whether that was the right call. Fumbled a tricky pass which allowed Ireland to salvage a scrum after a gruelling spell of pressure – involving 25-phases – on the Irish line towards the end of the first half, gave a way a cheap penalty for dangerously entering the tackle area at start of the second-half. Although we should be too harsh about a an who made 25  tackles. The line-out, generally, wasn’t too clever.

6. Ryan Wilson – 6

His influence in the Scotland pack as a leader, a battler and a line-out option is often underestimated. Was main source of possession at the touchline in the first half – although he had one bad one which went right through his hands – and put himself about to good effect in the loose. Didn’t reappear after the break due to a knee injury and Scotland felt his absence.

7. Jamie Ritchie – 8

Another towering performance. Tremendous work-rate both in attack and defence, and ability to make impact with big plays was evident with huge tackle on Bundee Aki which dislodged the ball and gave Scotland some impetus after the concession of Ireland’s first try, and with a brilliant turnover which teed-up Laidlaw’s penalty to give the home team a lifeline with 19 minutes to go.

8. Josh Strauss – 8

Several powerful carries early on – including one in first minute over the top of an Irishman – set the tone for another powerhouse performance in the first half. Isn’t an 80-minute player, and ran out of steam a bit in second half, but with Wilson already off he had to battle on. Was perhaps harshly penalised in 67th minute for not rolling away which allowed Ireland to stretch their lead back to nine points. Was top tackler with 26.


16. Fraser Brown – 6

Came on with 18 minutes to go and worked hard to inject some energy.

17. Jamie Bhatti – 6

Had a couple carries after replacing Dell in 67th minute, but struggled at scrum.

18. D’Arcy Rae – 6

Became Scotland’s 1103rd cap when he replaced Berghan with 13 minutes to go.

19. Ben Toolis – N/A

Didn’t get on.

20. Rob Harley – 6

Penalised for a high tackle on O’Brien at start of second half, which allowed Ireland to kick to the corner. Missed Carbery in lead-up to Earls’ try. Worked hard and will never let anyone down.

21. Ali Price – 6

Did well to tidy up a messy scrum towards the end with a pick-and-go which got Scotland on the front-foot, then in the next phase angled an excellent flat kick over the top into the corner.

22. Pete Horne – 6

Got 18 minutes at the end in place of Sam Johnson.

23. Blair Kinghorn – 7

Exploded into the game. Almost found his way through with his first touch after replacing Hogg, looked dangerous again the second time he got on the ball but play was called back for a forward pass. Was a constant threat but doubts about his solidity under the high ball after one particularly bad fumble in second half.

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David Barnes
About David Barnes 1359 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.