Six Nations: Scotland v England: Scotland player ratings

Duhan van der Merwe is a stand-out as the first Scotland player ever to score a hat-trick in this fixture

Duhan van der Merwe crosses for his third try for Scotland against England. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Duhan van der Merwe crosses for his third try for Scotland against England. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

15. Blair Kinghorn – 7

Started poorly with two early knock-ons, committed when he failed to defuse England’s early bombs. Things improved as the match progressed and by the second half he was catching (almost) everything that came his way. Funny what confidence can do. Never found the empty acres to showcase his impressive pace. [George Furbank 6]


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14. Kyle Steyn – 8

He didn’t get a chance to finish like his amigo on the other wing but was hugely influential throughout, whether mopping up the mess made by others or teaching his full-back how to harvest a high ball. [Tommy Freeman 5.5]

13. Huw Jones – 7

The outside centre ran some very good lines, lost his defender more than once and generally looked something like being back to his best. A little unlucky not to milk a penalty for a late tackle in the first half. [Henry Slade 6]

12. Sione Tuipulotu – 6

Not at his very best but still effective for the 40 minutes he was on the field. Sent Jones through a gap in the build up to Duhan’s first try. Hobbled onto the pitch for the second half and then hobbled straight back off. [Ollie Lawrence 5]

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 9

An early knock-on and a late yellow can’t detract from a hat-trick of tries, the second of which could only have been scored by the giant Saffa. He was imperious throughout and it doesn’t bear thinking about where Scotland would be without him? Never has a yellow card recipient been granted such a heroes send off at Murrayfield! [Elliot Daly 6]

 

 

10. Finn Russell – 8

First up he kicked immaculately off the tee, from all corners of the ground to leave with a 100 percent record for the game and the championship! Chapeau. He played a minor role in Duhan’s first try and his kick pass for Duhan’s third was perfectly judged. So we can forgive the odd charge down and poor kick from hand. [George Ford 7]

9. Ben White – 7

A mixed bag from the little scrummy who, a little like his half-back buddy, makes plenty of mistakes in amongst all the good stuff. His pass to the invisible man on 31 minutes was a case in point. [Danny Care 5.5]

 

 

1. Pierre Schoeman – 6.5

Probably not his best game but the South African prop still got through a heap of heavy carrying. But defenders now double team him because they know he doesn’t pass. Something to work on! [Ellis Genge 7]

2. George Turner – 5.5

He lost an early line-out because of an overthrow, and his no look pass to Finn Russell went some yards behind the fly-half, requiring Kyle Steyn to clean up the mess. A knock-on in the third quarter of the game halted a promising looking Scottish assault. Could do better. [Jamie George 7]

3. Zander Fagerson – 6

Like his front-row buddies, the tight-head has enjoyed better days in blue and will undoubtedly do so again. Fagerson tends to concede one, maybe two, scrum pens every Test. Referees do their research so they expect to ping the Scot, and when the scrum collapses they do ping the Scot. It’s a vicious circle that he needs to break by becoming squeaky clean. [Dan Cole 6.5]

4. Grant Gilchrist – 8

A good showing from the big man who made most of the restarts his own (Itoje picked his pocket on one occasion) and generally punched his weight in the tight exchanges. [Ollie Chessum 6.5]

5. Scott Cummings – 6

A mixed bag from the lock with an early knock-on counting against him in the ledger but he did manage to retrieve a line-out that the Scots lost around the half hour mark. [Maro Itoje 7.5]

6. Jamie Ritchie – 6

The recalled flanker made a couple of important tackles that needed to be made but he was otherwise relatively quiet, spurning the lifeline thrown his way. [Ethan Roots 7]

7. Rory Darge – 7

A busy afternoon from the Scotland co-captain but was he a little slow off the set scrum when England scored that early try after just five minutes? He made an important tackle on Ollie Chessum when the big lock threatened to break the line. [Sam Underhill 6]

8. Jack Dempsey – 8

A good showing from the Aussie No 8 who was busy and committed throughout. He won ball on the floor, like an old school seven, he carried with conviction in the second half, and was one of the instigators of the choke tackles that turned over England ball on two, maybe three, occasions. [Ben Earl 8]

 

 

Replacements 

16. Ewan Ashman – 7

Was one of those involved in Scotland’s effective choke tactic in addition to winning a couple of vital turnovers at the breakdown. Ripped the ball single-handedly from the English forwards and made a good case to start in Rome.

17. Alec Hepburn – 6.5

Combative and competent.

18. Elliot Millar-Mills – 7

Got an early run when Zander went for an HIA but found himself squeezed in the scrum, much like the man he had replaced. Better when he returned to the action in the second half, winning an important breakdown pen.

19. Sam Skinner – 6.5

A good man to bring off the bench.

20. Andy Christie – 7

Looked the part at six as he too made a strong bid to start in Rome. Won a penalty just minutes after entering the fray and did the needful throughout.

21. George Horne – 6.5

A tidy display from the little scrummy who played the percentages, although he didn’t get a chance to show what he could do around the base of the scrum.

22. Ben Healy – 6

An all too brief an encounter for the Irishman.

23. Cameron Redpath – 7

An excellent display even after he got a whack on his snoz for his troubles. Made one excellent break early in the second half as the catalyst to van der Merwe’s third, but could he have done better to stop England’s second try? He was pillar/post and it was probably Kinghorn, one man wider, who should have jammed in to close the gap.

 

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Calcutta Cup reaction: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend plays it cool after England win

About Iain Morrison 144 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.

58 Comments

  1. Millar Mills, wrongly adjudged to have dropped the scrum early on, magnificent penalty earned. Huw Jones, in defence magnificent and his acceleration of Tui’s pass, wowzer. Cam Redpath I thought was just brilliant, seemed to love every second, Finn, quiet I guess, but not when it really mattered and enjoyed good terms with the ref, Ashman, great when he came on but give Matthew a run against Italy. I made the 800 mile round trip from London, the atmosphere in and around the ground was brilliant, the Goyozas sold at the Japanese restaurant near the ground were great and I’m now a Tennants convert

  2. David, no one is saying it should be hushed up or that we should be embarrassed about it. That’s only you referencing that. The point is, let’s focus on the rugby. I think that’s what the players themselves would prefer too. And match ratings should focus on their performance. As for Iain, it’s nice that you’re sticking up for your colleague. Good for you!

  3. David, no one is saying it should be hushed up or that we should be embarrassed about it. That’s only you referencing that. The point is, let’s focus on the rugby. I think that’s what the players themselves would prefer too. And match ratings should focus on their performance. As for Iain, it’s nice that you’re sticking up for your colleague. Think you’re in the minority but nonetheless, good for you!

  4. Worth a wee mention, isn’t Andrew Cotter a cracking commentator? Maybe I’m biased as a Scot but I think he’s decent for the neutral as well. He’s a long way to go to Bill McLaren’s accolades but he seems the right fit for the long term.

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    • Much prefer BBC coverage and punditry but David Flatman is just brilliant; knows his stuff most of the time and a wonderful dry sense of humour. Just leave him to get on with it please, ITV

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  5. Just watched France v Italy, as usual the Italian side didn’t give up they defended tenaciously and but for the misfortune of the ball falling off the Tee and the need to take a quick kick surely they would have beaten France.
    Rome has been a Banana skin in the past we need to be 100% concentrated and certainly can’t take the W for granted.

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    • I suspect that France may be looking for a new coach soon. GT played in France and his style of open attacking rugby might be a magnet for them. As the Lions’ coach has been chosen and France always has a competitive pack guaranteed to secure regular possession, it might be a marriage made in heaven and an opportunity for GT to actually win something. Maybe Dodson’s extension of the GT contract isn’t so daft after all, as substantial compensation would have to be paid. You never know.

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  6. While the English based journalists, pundits, commentators and other so called “experts” sneer and snipe about some of the Scotland players backgrounds, perhaps they need to look a little closer to home. Consider the following 23 players who have all turned out for England over the last 15 years. Henry Paul, Leslie Vainikolo, Manu Tuilagi, 2x Vunipola, Mauritz Botha, Hendrie Fourie, Shontayne Hape, Rikki Flutey, Perry Freshwater, Dylan Hartley, Dave Ribbans, Brad Shields, Semesa Rokoduguni, Bevan Rodd, Than Roots, Feyi Wabosi, Joe Cokanasiga, Brad Barritt, Thomas Waldrom, Nathan Hughes, Denny Solomona, Willy Heinz. I’m sure there are others. Stones and glasshouses!!

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  7. The difference for me with Cummings in this game was his assertiveness: he was going to the tackle, going to the contact, snapping into and attacking the lineout jump. In past games it looked as though he was allowing things to transpire in front of him which often meant non-dominant tackles (I also noticed several pretend attempts at tackling but these were some time ago) and players like O’Mahony and his compadres beating him to lineout ball. This season, unless i’m mistaken, he looks like he’s bulked up too, which was badly needed (he was a decent weight before but players of that height are inevitably heavy). It’s just one game – on the international stage at any rate, though his Glasgow showings have likewise improved – but hopefully he can keep it up. Long-term, i’d like to see Alex Craig, Cameron Henderson and Max Williamson come more into the second-row reckoning as Gilchrist and Gray are not going to be around forever.
    On the off-field stuff: there are idiots in every crowd, regardless of the sport but they are by a long way a minority at Murrayfield, having been at game weekends many’s a time. What I would say, harking back to a previous conversation around the anthem, is Flower of Scotland is absolutely not anti-English. Its lyrics celebrate a specific period of time in history (The First War of Independence, The First and Second both Scottish victories) more than 700 years ago when Scotand was under an existential threat. Sending them homewards tae think again is in reference to an invading, foreign force – again, more than 700 years ago – and is not to be taken as a live societal attitude. Countries all over the world celebrate great historic victories and we absolutely should hold no shame in that. Telfer was right up to a point in stating we should not be living our identity through another country but also wrong in that we have our own, longstanding, well defined identity.

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    • And just for the Record, no pun intended, God save the King was written in 1745 on the basis that Charles Edward Stuart was marching on Derby and there was genuine concern that he would reach London.

    • The crowd certainly know who it is aimed at with the ‘infill’ of”England”, whoever the opponent on the day.! And please can we make it a March not a dirge.
      I wonder if the sports psychologists have looked at what I see as a concentration on the England result as being overly important. I know I’ll get slaughtered for suggesting a small change in FOS to “ our en’mies armies “ as more all encompassing.

    • The crowd certainly know who it is aimed at with the ‘infill’ of”England”, whoever the opponent on the day.! And please can we make it a March not a dirge.
      I wonder if the sports psychologists have looked at what I see as a concentration on the England result as being overly important. I know I’ll get slaughtered for suggesting a small change in FOS to “ our en’mies armies “ as more all encompassing.

  8. David, th definition of offensive if anything that causes someone to feel resentful, upset or annoyed.

    Constant references to the place of birth of Scotland rugby players in a match report which is about their performance on the pitch is unnecessary and annoying.

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    • I don’t think Duhan will ever feel resentful, upset or annoyed that he is correctly identified as a South African, just as his currently injured little pal on the other wing is correctly often identified as a Hawick man. Same goes for Healy, Schoeman and all the rest of the squad.

      They may, in fact, feel offended that people suggest their heritage is something which should be hushed up and embarrassed about. I don’t know if that is the case, but I know for a fact that they are not embarrassed about where they come from, or offended when we journalists speak to them regularly about their background.

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      • Playing devil’s advocate here. Iain’s articles I always thoroughly enjoy – they are good-humoured, regularly tie in with my own views on how the game should be played and show sound understanding of the game as can be expected from a former international. ‘Offensive’ in itself is a strong word to describe what someone has said and the straightforward fact of the matter is those lads are born where they were born.
        On the flip side of the coin, I think perhaps what people are getting at is there is definitely a tendency among commentators (especially), pundits and journalists to overlook the nationality of imports other teams utilise. When do we ever hear, taking the example of Lowe for Ireland, words to the effect of “great punt down the line by the big Kiwi there” or Tuilagi at England, “powerful carry by the big Samoan.” We do hear it all the time with our players, the country of origin bit, probably because there’s an unconscious bias toward viewing our country as overreliant on residency rules, ancestry and so forth. But the rules are the rules and our playing pool is what it is. I’m delighted to have these guys on board.

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      • It’s the fact that Scotland, more than Ireland in particular, get criticised, especially on social media for their selection of residency or dual Internationals, no longer wanted if we are honest by their original selectors, leading to criticism of any mention of a players Nationality.
        The problem comes from probably a slight embarrassment owing to the fact that we have for various reasons an extremely small pool of professional players and not least a creaky pathway to the Jersey.
        We have to check a player’s familial ties, or residency or the last time they pulled on another Jersey but on the family side it was ever thus. That’s not to say I am happy about the position we are in, but other International sides use the system to their advantage and I’m damn sure we should do the same.
        However, that is the system and if you don’t like it complain to World Rugby who increasingly either fail to consider the unintended consequences of their deliberations, a classic example being the failure to restrict Tier 1 nations from the ‘team hopping’ being a classic example when they suggested the ‘diktat’ was to help South Pacific Islanders play for their natural country.
        But it is what it is and if Townsend didn’t take advantage of the lack of restrictions then he would be getting even worse social media comment than at present.
        With regard to pointing out the truth of the matter [original Nationality] just think of your individual reaction on holiday in Europe or elsewhere and people say ‘Oh your English’ and be honest about the Nano-second it takes you to point out you’re Scottish.

      • Absolutely George, yes. I think we’d all love a 15 of homegrown players. But the framework is what it is and we have to field the team that gives us the best chance of winning – winning, as we know, being the everything where sport is concerned. And there is hope around homegrown talent: look at Williamson, Ashfar and Hiddleston at Glasgow, Paterson at the Burg, the second row lads mentioned previously – there is good quality material coming our way.
        Agree, btw, about the origins of the anthem England sing, “God grant that Marshal Wade” etc etc was a temporary verse inserted, I believe, when they were upset about my lot 🤣🤣

      • David, no one is saying it should be hushed up or that we should be embarrassed about it. That’s only you referencing that. The point is, let’s focus on the rugby. I think that’s what the players themselves would prefer too. And match ratings should focus on their performance. As for Iain, it’s nice that you’re sticking up for your colleague. Think you’re in the minority but nonetheless, good for you!

  9. What does Duhan have to do to get 10? 3 tries which maybe not all of his own making, but he had to finish the move off which really is the job of a winger. Also probably the best tackle I have seen him make, which if that is a yellow card, then I fear for the game going forward.

  10. +
    Our imports with no heritage in France!
    Not the case for Healy, Sione, Dempsey, Steyn with scottish heritage!

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  11. @Iain Morrison
    So fed up with “saffa, aussie, irish…”
    Could you change your vynil?!!!!
    All have the right to play for Scotland end of story!
    We don’t do that non stop with our imports in France!

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  12. Some very harsh scores for like of Cummings Jones and Finn….very generous for Ritchie n White…..Bear may have a point about them being awarded pre kick off!!

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  13. Cummings 6?? We’re we watching the same game? He had his best game in a Scottish shirt. Into everything, busy and effective in all areas, carried hard, made his tackles, outstanding at line out. Looked a proper international lock. Warranted at least an 8. And others are absolutely right to say we’re all sick of having Dempsey, Schu, VDM, WP singled out for their “nationality”. They are Scots. Nothing less. Leave the sniping to the TV commentators who can’t leave it alone. Except where Manu Tuilagi is concerned. His heritage barely ever gets a mention.

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      • Can I add my name to the list of people who think Morry has under-valued Scott Cummings. This was the game in which he came of age as a Scotland cap. He certainly out-played the over-hyed Itoje.

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    • Lowe,Hansen,Aki,Gibson Park,Van Der Flier,Tuilagi,Cunningham-South,Marcus smith,Vinapola,Roots,Feyi-Waboso…off the top of my head.All conveniently forgotten by the commentators!

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      • To be fair: Hansen has Irish parents, van Der Flier is Irish born of Dutch heritage, Tuilagi has lived in England most of his life, Marcus Smith is half English and has grown up in England, and Roots’ father is English.

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  14. Its always interesting when you watch a game live how you gather an impression and then someone elses is completely different. Generally although we won it was not a great performance and therefore the marks would nit be high with a few exceptions. In the oack i though for once our second row actually stood out with Cummins being the pick.Dempsey was the pick of the back row and Darge had a very average game. Did either him ir Ritchie win a turnover.In the backs I though they did well with the ball they had but Kinghorn was awful under the high ball. Finally how Steyn got an 8 is beyond me. He did very little with the ball and defensively missed loads of tackles

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  15. 4 stand out players for me today – Dempsey was at the heart of everything good that the pack did, Jones was class at times, his 2 try assists showing great awareness and skill, Russell kicked great from the tee and generally, managed the game well and of course the obvious DVdM.Kinghorn a bit average, Zander strong in the scrum but a bit quiet elsewhere I thought. Duhan has to have a 9 but was caught way out of position for England’s final try, overzealous tackle might have been costly on another day and what was that finish to his second try all about?? Really shouldn’t be showboating at this level, no need to take out the corner flag, just flop over the line next time please. But hey, hattrick in the Calcutta Cup is pretty special.

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  16. Most of those ratings too high.
    Cummings probably had his best match for Scotland and he gets a 6?…
    Kinghorn caught some balls but also spilled some catchable ones he also did little in attack and gets a 7?

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  17. Oddly enough, before I saw the ratings I had a feeling that you would give Gilchrist a higher rating than Cummings, simply because that’s what usually happens. I’m not saying that Gilchrist had a poor game, I thought he was excellent but a 6 for Cummings? For me he was our best forward and one of the best players on the pitch. I believe he made 15 tackles, joint highest in our team, along with several line out takes, an interception and was busy all over the pitch. What does this guy have to do to get the appreciation he so often deserves?

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    • I have been one of his harshest critics and it has taken 30 odd caps to get there but at last Cummings looked the part outwith his normal line out excellence and athleticism. He was everything a good second row needs to be abrasive and in your face and heres hoping that it continues and he really shined and deserves proper recognition even from myself.

  18. “1. Pierre Schoeman – 6.5

    Probably not his best game but the South African prop still got through a heap of heavy carrying. But defenders now double team him because they know he doesn’t pass. Something to work on! [Ellis Genge 7]” I suppose another way to put that is that Schoeman ties in two defenders with every carry and takes them out of the game, leaving Scotland 14 to 13 players up

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  19. Stop calling them Aussie and South African….. they play for our team. Just like you did. They are Scottish. Just like you are.

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    • Couldn’t agree more. People who choose to live and work here are a part of our community and are one of “us”. To continually point out their difference to us is pretty poor in 2024. Dempsey is of Scottish heritage and Schoeman has lived here for a number of years. Will they ever be accepted as truly Scottish?

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      • The best Scots are foreign Scots. People born in Scotland don’t have a choice in the matter but foreign Scots choose to come and live in here over anywhere else in the world. Respect.

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    • Totally agree, it really is tedious Iain. You clearly have strong views on qualification but please just try to focus on the rugby.

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      • So the person that gave my comment a thumbs down think it’s not important to focus on the rugby? And that it is important to highlight how you qualify. Pathetic.

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      • Just another shout out for the underrated Scott Cummings – he was immense and probably Scotland’s best forward.

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