France v Scotland: Scotland player ratings

Huw Jones emphasises his class with another red-hot performance

Finn Russell's try put Scotland into the frame for a dramatic win in Paris but they couldn't kick-on. Image: © Craig Watson -
Finn Russell's try put Scotland into the frame for a dramatic win in Paris but they couldn't kick-on. Image: © Craig Watson -

15. Stuart Hogg – 7

Experience is a vital commodity when the chips are down as they were in the early stages – and Hogg dug in determinedly, rallying the troops around about him. Not as obvious in attack as is usual – but he was solid in defence – and stuck in some siege-gun kicks to help establish territorial advantage. [Thomas Ramos 8] 

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14. Kyle Steyn – 6

The game did not go his way, and a careless hack through a broken play situation after Hogg had killed a French attack down the left set up Dumortier’s try just after Grant Gilchrist had been red carded. [Damien Penaud 6]

13. Huw Jones – 9

Gael Fickou won the man-of-the-match award but it must have been a close-run thing between him and Jones. Ran a great line out-to-in for his first try and a fantastic support line for his second. Stuck a try saving tackle in on Antoine Dupont at a time when there was a real danger of the game getting away from Scotland. The midfield chemistry between himself. Tuipulotu and Russell is heading towards being something very special. [Gael Fickou 9]

12. Sione Tuipulotu – 8

Another big step towards centre of the international stage. The perfect foil to Russell’s magic. Runs hard and direct creating the space the maestro needs. Sublime hands to put Jones in for his second try. And his defence was not bad either. [Yoram Moefana 7]

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 6

A frustrating afternoon. Just could not get into the game, hard though he tried. Forfeited the penalty which led to the first try when he got dumped in the opening minutes. A half chance in the first half when he got bundled into touch was as much as he had to show for his afternoon’s work. [Ethan Dumortier 8]

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10. Finn Russell – 8

A buzz went round the place whenever he was on the ball. Brilliant hands. A misjudgement gave Thomas Ramos his interception try, but when you play on the edge you will sometimes get burned, and it did not bother him a whit. He just kept firing the passes out, but mixing it up astutely, balancing possession (55 percent according to the match statistics) and territory (60 percent) with a couple of wonderful 50-22 kicks in his repertoire. Nor did he neglect his defensive duties … and he kicked his goals. [Romain Ntamack 8]

9. Ben White – 8

Grew into the game. Gave Russell the ball exactly how he wanted it – fast and in front of him. Put himself about defensively with one try saving tackle on Ethan Dumortier. Not afraid to have a look – but maybe needs to work on his box kicking. [Antoine Dupont 8]


1. Pierre Schoeman – 7

Hung in there on a hard  day at the pit face, and was busy about the park with 12 carries totalling 66 metres, which was the best return from a forward on either side. [Cyril Baille 8]

2. George Turner – 7

Threw a squint ball at the crucial line-out on the French line immediately after Mohamed Haouas’ red card,. but otherwise his darts were fine and he put in a hard shift at scrum time. Buzzed around the park as usual and had a couple of big clean outs, one of which led to Huw Jones’ second try. [Julien Marchand 8]

3. Zander Fagerson – 8

The scrum was on the edge throughout but he kept it together without conceding a single penalty which will hopefully give pause for thought to those hashtag warriors who have been giving him jip. Carried strongly and was unlucky not to score in the aftermath of Haouas’ red card. [Mohamed Haouas 0] 

4. Richie Gray – 7

It was hard and it was physical, and the line-out was a jungle, but he met the challenge head-on – and did his bit about the park. [Thibaud Flament 7] 

5. Grant Gilchrist – 3

Unlucky to pick up a [wholly legitimat] red card in seventh minute, careless rather than reckless. [Paul Willemse 7]

6. Jamie Ritchie – 9

Led from the front, constantly putting his body on the line to slow up French ball. Carried strongly and was a prime source of line-out ball.[Anthony Jelonch 4]

7. Hamish Watson – 4

Not the return he would have been looking for: sacrificed in the 10th minute to allow Jonny Gray to come on as a replacement for Gilchrist. [Charles Ollivon 8]

8. Matt Fagerson – 8

Another big performance both sides of the ball by Scotland’s undersized No 8 who continues to prove that its not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog.[Gregory Alldritt 4]



16. Fraser Brown – 5  (after replacing Turner in 63rd minute)

A bad overthrow when the game was very much in the balance turned the tide France’s way.

17. Jamie Bhatti – 6 (after replacing Schoeman in 63rd minute)

Kept his end up.

18. WP Nel – 6 (after replacing Zander Fagerson in 63rd minute)


19. Jonny Gray – 7 (after replacing Watson in 10th minute)

Secure in the line-out and active in the loose. Maybe too similar in style and attitude to Ritchie.

20. Sam Skinner – 6 (after replacing Gray in 71st minute)

A ten-minute cameo.

21. Jack Dempsey – 8 (after replacing Matt Fagerson in 57th minute)

Exploded into the game, carrying in from where Matt Fagerson left off.

22. Ali Price – 7 (after replacing White in 57th minute)

Tried hard to get into the game and bring his experience to bear.

23. Blair Kinghorn – 6 (after replacing Steyn in 69th minute)

Looked the part but no opportunity to make a significant contribution.

France v Scotland reaction: Gregor Townsend upbeat in defeat


  1. The one that got away!! Could have won that. What we’re all sure of now is that we can go toe to toe with the best in the world and have a reasonable expectation of winning. Let’s take that into the Ireland game. Come out with the Triple Crown, and a real shout of winning the Tournament on the last day. Exciting times

  2. Loose head props are nearly always more prominent in the loose. As expected. And in case you hadn’t noticed we went down to 7 forwards first.

    • Septic 9 , yeh like Tadhg Furlong ….. a tight head prop , you don’t see as much of him in the loose …😂

      • jeez. Did I say tight heads aren’t seen in the loose? Nope

        Go and do some research or watch a few games. Loose heads typically carry far more, make more yards per carry, hit more rucks and usually make more tackles. There are exceptions, precious few and we are so lucky to have one of them

  3. Its nice to read all the positive comments about Scotland for a change. However, not to put a dampener on things, chances dont win games, points do. we went for 5 a few times when 3 were on offer and if we had taken them when they were on offer we would not have been 19 down. Game management and taking chances are what its all about. Credit to Scotland, I have watched them for years from a distance and always been left disappointed. Very delighted to see the difference this year!

  4. One thing I took out of the game is how the French managed to effectively close out our wingers. The only time I remember the ball spreading fast to the wing was the interception. With hindsight with the French defending wider than England or Wales we probably should have changed tactics a little earlier and gone a bit more direct. Maybe if that’s how the defence is shaping against us we need to get our big wingers to come in more often as 1st or 2nd receiver. It worked in the run up to Russell’s try. Anyway, lets hope we have an updated plan for the Irish defensive system.

  5. “the unlucky RC for Gilchrist (dont know the rules but surely some mitigation for the tackle that changed his position about 1 second before the hit).”
    Gilchrist tackle is too high, and he goes with THE SHOULDER first, no arms around Anthony Jelonch body to tackle properly!
    The rule is clear = no contact the the head!
    So RED CARD and of story!

      • You are right, i only wanted to answer John Martin comment.
        I was fuming about Haouas IDIOTIC agression on White!
        Would like to see Scotland winning the triple crown now!

    • Yes I can imagine French fans would be livid. France are still going good-guns though and will be there or thereabouts when the RWC comes around.
      Still a massive game for us next despite Grand Slam no longer being on the table though most of us did not believe it to be realistic – nice surprise had it happened though! 3 wins and honour intact after the France and Ireland games most of us would settle for I daresay, anything more a happy bonus. Big one for me was Wales for the straightforward reason I think we’ve had better players than them for years.

  6. I thought that Turner’s “squint” throw was perfectly straight. Gray did jump across a bit though. French didn’t compete, not enough for a pen, play on.

    DVdM’s “penalty” was Gray’s fault again for flopping on top of the tackle. Did the same in the second half to concede 3.

  7. Zander Fagerson with a higher score than Pierre Schoeman and a unnecessary comment about “hashtag warriors giving him gyp” ? Are these the same hashtag warriors that keep this online platform alive with often relevant and well thought out comments ?
    The point around Fagersons discipline made on this forum after the last game was entirely relevant , his discipline in general has been an issue overall in the majority of games he has played.
    That said , credit to him on Saturday however , his discipline was good but I think you are clutching at straws with an 8 as he was scrumming against 7 men at times and he was nowhere near as active as Schoeman in the loose.

    • Have you checked the scrum statistics for the Welsh game?
      ‘Relevant and well thought out comment’ should by definition be factually based.

  8. Does anyone agree with me that the lineout at the end wasn’t a Brown over throw but a misunderstanding in the timing/ error in communication.

    • Yes Iain. It looked to me as though they lifted/jumped early then pulled out of it realising they had mis-timed.
      Yesterday’s game had a different feel on conclusion. Before, the norm was us hanging in there against teams more physically powerful than our own and capitalising on opportunities through broken-field play – or indeed counter-attacks – using the pace of Hogg, wee Darcy, Visser and Maitland beforehand. The difference now is we dominated the game and actually outplayed France for most of it. While there us a power deficit playing teams like France which told when they had the ball with the yardage they were makinf, we made a good job of mitigating it by shifting the point of attack and gettimg the ball away quickly from breakdowns. France looked out on their feet by 50 mins. Wee quibble would be tackle selection at times (though these can be split-second decisions) but otherwise an excellent showing.
      Now to try to break the Irish code with their systematic style of play.

      • Agree with comment about tackle selection. When the French were charging with forwards to make metres to force over for a try, too many of our taclers were trying to tacle on the bal to get a rip in for a turn over. I felt this allowed the French to make too much ground too easily and a few tackles around the legs would have brought big men down quicker

    • No idea but it’s totally unfair for some people to highlight that one mistake as costing us the game, in a match littered with errors or missed chances under intense physical pressure from France. Mistakes happen and our execution wasn’t quite where it needed to be, whether it was Russell’s interception, Turner’s knock on, or Sione passing/running into Jones in the French 22. Any of these could have ‘cost us the game’.

    • Yes – absolutely.

      My lad also thinks the lift wasn’t vertically straight, so Ritchie was leaning back too much. He might still have got it but for that despite the lift being early.

    • 100% correct Iain. I was at the game and it was an obvious mistimed jump or lift. Up too early.
      The Offside Line team have had plenty of time to review it and report correctly

    • I do. Rugby is a team game with collective responsibility for winning and losing. The lineout is so technical with many moving parts. Brown is easily the top ranked hooker in the URC for lineout accuracy and completion and has been exceptional for both Glasgow and Scotland this season. Some of the very unpleasant posts about individual players I find totally unacceptable

      • The “Panto Villanisation” of certain Scottish players is pretty unedifying (Brown’s throws, Zander as the “penalty machine”). It’s as tiresome as it is inaccurate.

    • Absolutely. Ritchie jumped at the front but the throw was so far over his head he must have been the decoy. Sadly nobody at the back left the ground. It was at the back where the lifters and jumpers got it wrong. Fraser Brown is innocent!!

  9. Fascinating game, from the slooooow start including the unlucky RC for Gilchrist (dont know the rules but surely some mitigation for the tackle that changed his position about 1 second before the hit).
    Tremendous comeback and the Brown overthrow 🙈……….
    Nothing from an attacking sense from Hogg.
    Jones is simply magic, his running lines world class.
    Russell is the heartbeat of the team

  10. Huw Jones is class in attack and always was. He did have a reputation for being relatively weak in defence and maybe his time out of the spotlight has helped him work on that, but his partnership with Tuipulotu has been a joy to watch.

    No disrespect to Kyle Steyn, who’s generally been solid and has been reading Russell well, but it would have been great to have Darcy Graham available, as he’s been in scintillating form.

    I think George Horne’d earned a little more time on the pitch too, but White has been solid and consistent, so deserves his place.

      • If Darcy is fit in two weeks (I think he will be right?) then I think he should be brought back in for the Ireland game.

        I’d also rather have Horne on the bench covering SH and kicking duties.

      • @Rogan Gunn. Nice idea, but if Russell goes off injured after 5 mins, so you sub the 9 as well as the 10 at that point – leaving backs bench over a bit thin for 75 mins?

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