15. Stuart Hogg – 8
Showed the way in terms of commitment and dedication, though he could maybe have hit Pierre Bruno harder in the lead up to Calum Braley’s try. Aggressive ball in hand when on the front foot but preferred to kick long from deep – and whilst he generally came out on top in the consequent aerial ping-pong, he will find Jonnny Sexton, Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway and James Lowe to be much more accomplished kickers than anything Italy had on offer.
14. Darcy Graham – 8
The game did not really run his way but he scored a brilliant try and was the essential link in the move which led to Sam Johnson’s opening try. Brave and tidy in defence.
13. Chris Harris – 7
Marshalled the defence effectively – but was presumably responsible for the careless second minute penalty for encroaching. More involved ball-in-hand, he scored two tries, attacking the ball hard and running a great line for his second one. Key man in Dublin next week when the Irish attack will be asking some tough questions.
12. Sam Johnson – 8
Took his try well and looked the part both sides of the ball – so much so, that you have to wonder about the logic of dumping him after his similarly polished performance at Twickenham.
11. Kyle Steyn – 6
Looked good for an hour, showing great game awareness to set up Chris Harris’ first try – but fell off his bike in the final quarter, with a couple of unforced errors, an unnecessary penalty and a wanton disregard of the off-side line.
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10. Finn Russell – 8
Maybe still not firing on all cylinders and lucky to get away with telegraphing an interception to Toa Halafihi with the score still at 5-3. The bits and pieces were, however, all there – with the superb long pass for Sam Johnson’s try and the sublime hands that led to Darcy Graham’s try ample evidence of what he can do with a bit of space and some front-foot ball. The challenge is to find him that space and front-foot ball in Dublin. Kicked four out of five goals.
9. Ali Price – 9
Man-of-the-Match in his 50th international. He was into everything – a focal point in terms of game management and the catalyst for four of the five tries. Constantly under-rated, and sometimes abused on social media, he has maybe now given the chattering classes pause for thought.
1. Pierre Schoeman – 8
Another fine game. Comfortable in the scrum and put himself about the park enthusiastically – hard working in defence, dynamic ball-in-hand, and occasionally showing surprisingly deft hands.
2. George Turner – 9
A big game. No problem in the scrum – great darts, particularly to the tail – and explosive about the field, with his initial surge setting up Sam Johnson’s all important first try.
3. Zander Fagerson – 6
Solid enough, but really has not got his head around the fact the needless penalties kill rugby teams.
4. Sam Skinner – 8
Gets better and better with every international game he plays in the second-row. Comfortable in the line-out, tremendous work-rate and a couple of huge hits.
5. Grant Gilchrist – 8
Another big shift from a big player, though he appeared to struggle with a couple of the line-out plays.
6. Rory Darge – 7
Caught the eye with several explosive carries and covered the park several times over, but left a suspicion that he was perhaps not totally comfortable in his new-given role.
7. Hamish Watson – 8
Never far from the ball, he needed strength of purpose at the breakdown to get the edge on a very physical Italian back-row. Carried aggressively for an impressive 72 metres and tackled like a tiger.
8. Matt Fagerson – 8
Controlled his space energetically whether in attack or defence.
16. Stuart McInally – 6
On for George Turner in 60th minute. A walk in the park
17. Allan Dell – 6
Took over from Pierre Schoeman in 60th minute. Fitted in easily and looked the part which is all he could be asked of him given lack of meaningful game-time at club level this season.
18. WP Nel – 6
On for Zander Fagerson in 60th minute. No problem – and no penalties.
19. Jamie Hodgson – 5
Arrival as a 76th minute sub for Sam Skinner was too late to really make any sort of impact.
20. Magnus Bradbury – 6
Replaced Matt Fagerson in 63rd minute. Appeared comfortable enough, carrying for 69 metres.
21. Ben Vellacott – 5
Nor much of a chance to make an impact on his international debut as a75th minute sub for Ali Price.
22. Adam Hastings – 5
On for Finn Russell in 76th minutes. A cameo appearance but all credit to him for sticking in after snub at start of thes campaign and doing what needed to be done to make sure he was available to make it to Italy for this match.
23. Sione Tuipulotu – 5
Four minutes at the end in place of the impressive Sam Johnson.