6 Nations: Scotland player ratings – versus Italy

Blair Kinghorn tops of the class after historic hat-trick for the home team

Stuart Hogg
Stuart Hogg celebrates scoring his 19th international try. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson

15. Stuart Hogg – 8 out of 10

Threatening every time he got the ball, always looking for work, solid in defence, kicked very long for field position and chased hard. Needed quicker hands to expose an overlap on the left in sixth minutes but got caught in possession and ended up giving away a penalty. Did manage to get the ball away under pressure to release Kinghorn for the winger’s second try. Really came into the game in the second half. Will score more convincing tries than his one here, for which he seemed to brush a fingernail across the ball as Russell’s kick bobbled towards the dead-ball line, but they all count. Excellent break – in which he ghosted through a gap which didn’t seem to exist between couple of Italian kick-chasers – launched the passage of play which culminated in Chris Harris’ try. Thought he had got a second for himself with a classic Hogg break involving pace, footwork, power and balance, but was called back for an obstruction in midfield.

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14. Tommy Seymour – 7

Looked lively on the rare occasions he got a chance. Very aware and aggressive in defence, particularly when he timed his run brilliantly to shoot out the line and make a turnover tackle on opposite number Michele Campagnaro as Italy began to build up a head of steam just before half-time. Made the initial break from line-out ball which set Scotland rolling towards Hogg’s try at start of second half.

13. Huw Jones – 6

Had a powerful burst up the middle early in the second half but generally looked like a player who has had only 30 minutes of competitive game time in the past month, before being replaced by Chris Harries in 57 minutes.

12. Sam Johnson – 8

Looked comfortable from the very start making the step up to international rugby. Superb game awareness. Good hands. Ran hard and directly. And gelled well with Finn Russell. An impressive debut.

11. Blair Kinghorn  – 9

Came off his wing to cut Italy open on a set move from a line-out but perhaps should have looked to feed Hogg on his outside. Didn’t waste any time worrying about that. Cruised home from Russell’s great pass-kick for the opening try, and then went over again on 21 minutes for his second, he had to wait until the 53rd minute to complete his hat-trick by stepping inside one defender and brushing off an another on his way to the line, completing a first Six/Five Nations hat-trick by a Scotland player in 30 years (since Iwan Tukalo against Ireland in 1989).

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10. Finn Russell – 8

A brilliant, inch perfect cross-field kick to send Kinghorn in for the opening try served notice that this was going to be one of his majestic days. Involved twice in the lead-up to Kinghorn’s second try, sent the grubber through for Hogg’s score and delayed pass to Strauss was key in build-up to Harris try. Tactical kicking was spot-on and stretched Italy to the limit with his flat searching passes.

9. Greig Laidlaw – 8

A shame he didn’t feed Jamie Ritchie and Huw Jones on his inside in the second minute for what looked like a gilt-edged scoring opportunity, but hacked ahead instead. But otherwise hardly put a foot wrong: mixed it up well and kept nipping at the forwards heels.  Quick reactions to snaffle possession when Italy lost control at the base which triggered the opening try. Was involved twice in lead-up to Kinghorn’s third try. Missed first very difficult conversion — but nailed everything else. No coincidence that he was off the park, having been replaced by Ali Price in 57 minutes, when the wheels came off towards the end

1. Allan Dell – 7

Scrums were a bit of a mess and he found them hard going early on, but hung in and worked his way through it, even picking up a penalty on 26 minutes when opposite number Simone Ferrari was called for collapsing. Several nice touches around the park and 10 tackles. Replaced by Jamie Bhatti in 57 minutes.

2. Stuart McInally – 7

Excellent at the line-out and very busy about the park, without quite dazzling in the same way as he has in recent outings.

3. WP Nel – 7

Rock solid before being replaced by Berghan on 50-minutes with a tight calf. The Scotland management team will be praying that it loosens off before next week’s clash with Ireland because although Zander Fagerson is very close to a comeback he has been out for four and a half months so will want to ease himself back to full match sharpness/fitness with a couple of appearances with Glasgow Warriors first.

4. Ben Toolis – 7

Unsung hero working away under the radar, though he did sail pretty close to the winds at times.

5. Grant Gilchrist – 8

Got over the line from a driven line-out in the third minute, but the TMO correctly identified that there had been a double-movement. 19 tackles – more than any other player on the park – is a testament to his work-rate, and demonstrates that Jonny Gray is not the only Scottish second-row capable of registering eye-watering match stats. Dictated terms at line-out.

6. Sam Skinner – 5

Did brilliantly to reclaim the ball from Scotland at the restart after they fell behind to an early penalty, but injured his ankle in the process and had to be replaced by Josh Strauss on 12 minutes.

7. Jamie Ritchie – 8

Continues to exceed expectations with towering performances, Tip tackle on Sergio Parisse handed Italy the opening points of the game, but was generally excellent in defence with 17 tackles, and a brilliant surge created the momentum for Kinghorn’s third score.

8. Ryan Wilson – 8

Moved from No 8 to blind-side flanker after Skinner’s injury but didn’t miss a beat. Worked typically hard and aggressively on both sides of the ball. Took on a lot of the tough carrying in heavy traffic. And defended adroitly early in second half when Palazzani made his try threatening break.

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16. Jake Kerr – 5

Made himself busy on his international debut with seven tackles in 18 minutes, although will be disappointed that his first line-out was snaffled by an Italian hand.

17. Jamie Bhatti – 5

Solid enough.

18. Simon Berghan – 5

Came on with 21 minutes to go but only played 11 due to picking up a ‘team’ yellow-card for not rolling way at a ruck just a few seconds after the referee had wanted the Scots to be careful with their discipline at the breakdown.

19. Gary Graham – 5

The long saga of his international allegiance can now be put to bed after nine minutes off the  ‘captured’ him as a Scotsman. He’ll get more substantial opportunities in the future to show just how dedicated he is to the cause.

20. Josh Strauss – 7

Introduced to the fray earlier than he would have expected after Skinner’s injury, but hit the ground running with some good carrying including a crucial role in Harris’ try and 11 tackles.

21. Ali Price – 5

He didn’t know much about the obstruction he was pulled up for which brought play back to halfway after Hogg’s magnificent sprint to the line for what we thought was going to be his second try of the match with eight minutes to go.

22. Adam Hastings – 5

Five minutes is no basis to judge a player’s performance.

23. Chris Harris – 7

Came off the bench for Huw Jones on 57 minutes and scored his first international try four minutes later, also showed up well in defence with eight tackles.

Scotland v Italy: Blair Kinghorn hat-trick provides winning start

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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.