Italy v Scotland: Scotland player ratings

Scotland did it the hard way in Florence but there was a few stand-out performances in this generally workmanlike victory

Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe was man-of-the-match against Italy. Image: Craig Watson
Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe was man-of-the-match against Italy. Image: Craig Watson

15. Stuart Hogg – 7

Kept the back door firmly shut. Solid under the high ball when Italy were on top in the first quarter – mixing up his trademark siege gun reposts with some aggressive runs back. Clearly aware of what was needed, but struggled to make it happen apart from a glorious Russell-esque pass early in the second half which put Sam Johnson into space wide right, and shortly afterwards finding space down the middle only for Chris Harris to knock on.

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14. Darcy Graham – 6

Threatening when he got a sniff, but struggled to get into the game, particularly in the first half. Defended well, closing down space quickly and tackling well above his weight – but the punters want to see him ball-in-hand – and he needs to find the means of satisfying them.

13. Chris Harris – 8

Maybe his best game to date in a Scotland shirt – both in attack and defence. He ran some great lines and had a superb offload in the lead up to Duncan Weir’s disallowed try – but did nothing to allay concerns about his hands when he dropped a straightforward pass from Stuart Hogg early in the second half.

12. Sam Johnson – 6

By and large he did what it says on the tin. He worked hard – he was sound in defence – and he threatened the gain line – but pace still looks a potential problem, most noticeably when Stuart Hogg put him into acres of space wide right in the second half and he was quickly closed down.

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 8

Deservedly adjudged man-of-the-match. Strong running and dangerous. Always looking for work, he ran a glorious line for his try. Comfortable enough in defence.

Italy v Scotland: hard fought win in Florence for Gregor Townsend’s men

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10. Duncan Weir – 7

The first 20 minutes were difficult but he grew into the game – without fully imposing himself upon it. Kicked well both from hand and for goal – but was caught out defensively in the lead up to Minozzi’s try when he misread the situation and was brushed aside by Zanon. Took his disallowed try well.

9. Ali Price – 7

Another solid performance. Maybe lacking last week’s pin-point accuracy kicking into the box but his beautifully judged pass set up Duhan van der Merwe’s try – and he was always there at the pit face.

1. Rory Sutherland – N/A

A tale of woe. in the face of some subjective refereeing, he conceded a free kick at the first scrum in the fifth minute, then conceded a penalty at the second scrum in the seventh, and then went off injured after the third scrum disintegrated in the 10th minute. World class props don’t become bad props overnight so presumably whatever went wrong will come into the public domain over the next couple of days.

2. Stuart Mcinally – 5

Showed very little in the first half – but was more assertive in the third quarter before being replaced by George Turner in the 61st minute. Still looks a better line-out option than Fraser Brown.

3. Zander Fagerson – 6

Not one of his better games. He struggled against Italy’s early onslaught but luckily (and incredibly) there were no scrums between the 10th and 38th minutes. ‘Refreshed’ at half-time, he tightened his game up and intensified his tempo, but still a pretty subdued performance – though fortunately he had the nous to touch down for his try when the rest of the world assumed that the referee was going to blow his whistle.

4. Scott Cummings – 7

A mixed bag. A really bad penalty in front of his own posts in the 6th minute. Maybe he was unlucky – maybe he was on-side — but you do not take that sort of risk in front of your own posts in the sixth minute of an international rugby match. Thereafter, he fronted up well and worked hard. Took his try well – hit the perfect line and went low and hard.

5. Jonny Gray – 7

Put in a full shift. No drama at the line-out, got himself about the park and, according to the statisticians, put in a highly commendable 13 tackles.

6. Jamie Ritchie – N/A

Injured in the seventh minute and replaced by Nick Haining. Much missed.

7. Hamish Watson – 6

Maybe missing his comrade in arms – but by his standards, a quiet afternoon – although had the wherewithal to pop the ball off the deck for Faegrson’s try.

8. Blade Thomson – 4

Posted absent – apart from three needless line-out penalties – two of which were at the crucial first line-outs of each half.


16. George Turner – 7

Made an impact. Exploded onto the ball to set up Scott Cumming’s try after coming on for Stuart McInnally in the 61st minute – and took his own try well off the back of a driving maul. No problem at either the line-out or scrum.

17. Oli Kebble – 5

Came on for Rory Sutherland in 16th minute – but had to wait until 38th minute for his first scrum — which went well enough – but didn’t offer too much about the park.

18. WP Nel – 5

On for Zander Fagerson in the 66th minute – and kept the scrum intact – but like Kebble, offered very little about the park.

19. Sam Skinner – 6

Came on for Haining in the 61st minute and stuck in a couple of big hits.

20. Nick Haining – 5

On for Jamie Ritchie in the 12th minute – and struggled to get into the game before being taken off again with just under 20 minutes to go.

21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – 6

A cameo appearance in place of Ali Price in the 72nd minute – looked sharp and was aggressive enough to contribute an excellent steal.

22. James Lang – 5

Replaced Sam Johnson in the 69th minute – but never really had a chance to get into the game.

23. Blair Kinghorn – 5

On for Darcy Graham in the 66th minute – and as tidy as you would expect.

Italy v Scotland: hard fought win in Florence for Gregor Townsend’s men



  1. Very harsh verdict on Thomson I would say. Thought he made a few good carries as well as his lineout work.

    To me he looks like our best option at 8 for now. Somebody really needs to put their hand up here though. Seems we have been waiting on Bradbury or Fagerson to do so for too long.

  2. Minor point but wasn’t the first scrum free kick against Fagerson? Pretty sure the ref said 3 blue for engaging too early.

  3. Bit harsh not mentioning Thomson’s positive work at the line-out, I think. A few good takes, if I remember rightly. Ken Owens was damning about us not using him as a target in Llanelli, and he should know better than most.

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