Ireland v Scotland: Scotland player ratings

A disappointing defeat for Scotland in Dublin but certainly more positives than negatives in terms of individual performances

Scotland centre tries to escape the clutches of Ireland second-row Iain Henderson.
Scotland centre Sam Johnson tries to escape the clutches of Ireland second-row Iain Henderson. Image: © Craig Watson -

15. Stuart Hogg – 8

A world class performance from a world class player. A confident start to his captaincy, he led by example, but 20 years from now we will still be asking why he did not dive in for a nailed-on try when he had the chance.

14. Sean Maitland – 6

The game did not run his way, but kept looking for things to do, was competent defensively and confident under the high ball, and he worked very hard to get up in support of Sam Johnson’s intercepted break-out.

13. Huw Jones – 6

Hardly his fault, but he struggled to get into the game. Much to offer in attack but essentially ignored. Could maybe look after the ball better, and defensive frailty cruelly exposed by Jordan Lamour early on – though, in fairness, he was very solid thereafter.

12. Sam Johnson – 7

Attacks the ball, but lack of pace badly exposed twice – first when he intercepted Connor Murray’s pass deep in his own 22, and then when he gave away a crucial penalty obstructing Andrew Conway.

11. Blair Kinghorn – 6

Pretty anonymous and exposed a couple of times under the high ball. Still doesn’t look particularly comfortable on the wing.

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10. Adam Hastings – 7

It’s time we stopped comparing him to Finn Russell – or to his father, Gavin, for that matter – because he is a serious player in his own right. Grew into the part and managed the game well. Clever kick-pass to Nick Haining when nothing else on after Johnson’s break-out.

9. Ali Price – 7

A mature performance. Mixed it up well between his natural sniping, his slick service and his marshalling of the pack from the base. But let himself down either side of half-time with a careless unnecessary offside penalty and a poor unwarranted kick towards the corner just as the pack were building up a head of steam.

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1. Rory Sutherland – 8

Outstanding. Perhaps Scotland’s man-of-the-match. Kept the scrum rock solid against the much vaunted Irish front-row, with a couple of big carries thrown in for good measure.

2. Fraser Brown – 6

Scrum was fine. One poor throw. Busy about the park but a stupid (and costly) penalty blotted his copybook.

3. Zander Fagerson – 7

Did his bit at scrum-time, and put a full shift in around the park.

4. Scott Cummings – 7

Yet more evidence that he has a big future in the international game. Improving with every game, dominated the crucial early restarts and put himself about enthusiastically throughout. One very sloppy line-out the only demerit.

5. Jonny Gray – 7

Top of the overall tackle count at 26 with second placed James Ryan only on 19.

6. Jamie Ritchie – 7

A couple of needless penalties – but he wasn’t the only one! Generally carried on from where he left off at the World Cup – with much of his best work carried out under the radar. A big player for Scotland these days.

7. Hamish Watson – 7

Gave it his all, as usual. Stuck in a couple of huge hits. Carried for 68 metres which was bested only by CJ Stander and James Ritchie, both of whom logged in at 73 metres. Worked hard at the breakdown but constantly out-manned – which might be a systemic rather than a functional problem.

8. Nick Haining – 7

An impressive debut. No obvious nerves. Exploded into the game and stayed positive and aggressive throughout, with and without the ball in hand.


16. Stuart Mcinally – 6

Had one lung-busting break after coming on for the last 25 minutes, and is clearly determined to push Brown all the way for that starting jersey.

17. Allan Dell – 6

Worked hard to get into the game during his 16 minutes.

18. WP Nel – 5

Late call-up to the squad played the final eight minutes.

19. Ben Toolis – 5

Didn’t really get a chance to make his mark and hard to see him usurping either of the current inhabitants of the engine-room.

20. Cornell du Preez – 5

Eight minutes at the end might not be enough to secure a place in the squad if Magnus Bradbury returns, as expected, next week.

21. George Horne –  5

Played the last 16 minutes

22. Rory Hutchinson – 5

Would be great to see him get some real Six Nations minutes under his belt.

23. Chris Harris –5

Not much chance to make an impact.

Ireland v Scotland: courageous visitors left frustrated by own mistakes


  1. It would be a travesty if Adam Hastings was dropped after that performance and sending out all the wrong messages. He had an excellent game overall, particularly for a man of his limited experience at this level.
    Finn will have to show some contrition and bide his opportunity an make sure that he takes it when he gets it.
    To let him walk back into the team, would be a slap in the face for Addam Hastings, would display weakness from Gregor Townsend and have a negative effect on the team. As good as he is, no man is or can be allowed to be bigger than the team, and with Adam Hastings in that form he is not a great loss anyway.

  2. Two many penalty’s by Scotland
    Hastings to many errors, high tackles,lack of ability to add variety to game plan
    Poor team selection by Townsend
    Change in coaching staff no change in team performance (Unlike France ???)
    Is it time for Townsend to be replaced ????
    Performance in world cup not acceptable
    More excuses from Townsend ??? he picked the team !!!!
    Is Finn Russell coming back to play out the remaining games in the six nations ??
    All of the above need to be addressed ASAP or Scotland are looking at the wooden Spoon AGAIN

  3. Lots of mistakes, lots of positives but am i the only one wondering why first man up doesnt clear out the ruck ? That way Stander and co couldnt get a hand on the ball. It was the ruck turnovers that killed us

    • Ireland were illegal at most ruck/breakdowns. I’m not blaming them. They simply read Raynal better than the Scottish forwards. I hate to write this but Scottish forwards must learn to cheat better.

  4. Scotland solid especially in the scrum as well as exciting back play. At least Hastings didn’t overplay in his own half or throw any wild interception passes. In a team game the challenge with being mercurial is none of your team mates know what you’re going to do.

  5. Ok. So which coach has a longer ‘to do’ list? Farrell or Townsend? I’m Irish and I say Farrell. Ireland were lucky, Scotland were really quite good for the most part.

    • Looked like much of the same from Ireland in terms of their tactics and gameplan, seemed a real continuity from Schmidt – Farrell from what I could see. Scotland absolutely blew it and the game was there to be won, a few really silly penalties given away at key moments, Hogg inexplicably dropping that ball on, periods of pressure in Ireland’s 22 that Scotland could/should have had more rewards from. An all too familiar feeling as a lifelong Scottish rugby fan. It was a good performance though in so many ways and the team looked united and full of fight and desire, so on to the next game we go- same again lads but next time TAKE YOUR CHANCES!

  6. Comments are very negative. Are they posted by fans or trolls?
    Intensity of performance was there. Keep it up.

    • I don’t think it’s trolling to suggest Hogg’s performance may not have been world-class.

      There were definitely positives. Sutherland, Haining, the scrum, Hastings, and the overall intensity. But we’ll need to improve next week to retain the Calcutta Cup.

    • Agree. There was a very definite different complexion to Scotland and it showed in the 1st minute. Silly penalties and lack of clinicality in the 22 is what cost us. Sure, they’re not great attributes but the fire, determination and will were definitely there.

  7. World-class players start by doing the simple things really well. It’s hard to imagine Ben Smith making a mistake like that. I think it comes down to mindset under extreme pressure. No one is too good to ground the ball with two hands.

    • That was due to the fact that he wasn’t looking at the try line he was looking at bundee aki coming across and caused the mistake. Any world class player could have done that

  8. 7 for Sam Johnson is a bit mean considering he was towing a caravan around all afternoon. What’s that? He wasn’t?!? Oh, I thought that what why he was so slow

  9. Sutherland has had world of injuries but yesterday we got the chance to see his true potential. Let’s hope he can back that up, big shout to the back row as well. A little composure and we’d have won that game.

  10. How can you give someone an 8 who dropped the ball over the try line and then call him world class.

    Take another look…..

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