Scotland v Samoa: Scotland player ratings

Back-row put in a huge performance as Gregor Townsend's team got their World Cup campaign back on the rails

Scotland v Samoa
Sean Maitland is taken out illegally, leading up to Scotland's bonus-point try. Image: © Craig Watson -

15. Stuart Hogg – 8

A commanding presence at the back. An audacious 45-metre drop-goal towards the end of the fist half was excellently executed, and was also very game-savvy because it further boosted Scotland’s confidence after a week of regret and recrimination. Took over the captaincy towards the end and the fact that Scotland managed to, more or less, keep their shape and discipline when it was getting pretty touch-and-go for that vital bonus point says a lot about his maturity and influence.

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14. Darcy Graham – 7

Showed his threat early on with a typically sparky break past three defenders, which eventually took two more Samoans to bring him down. Didn’t get as many chances to dazzle as he would have liked but was always lively, and those who fear that his lack of size is an issue at this level have been served yet more evidence that he is entirely capable of coping with high balls and galloping giants.

13. Chris Harris – 8

Solid in defence and a handful in attack – not just through his hard, straight running – there was some delightful handling and a few neat kicks in there as well. After an inauspicious start to his international career, he has seized the moment and turned himself into a central figure for Scotland in this World Cup campaign.

12. Sam Johnson – 7

Originator of a long, flat, Russell-esque pass which cut out two players and opened the Samoans up early on, and was as solid as he always is in defence. Will be disappointed with his fumble five yards from the Samoan line early in the second half, but generally another solid performance from the man who has made the Scotland No 12 jersey his own.

11. Sean Maitland – 8

One of the survivors from last week who needed a big performance, and he certainly delivered. Worked hard to get into the game throughout, and made ground whenever he got his hands on the ball, which was often in heavy traffic. Took a couple of brilliant high balls, including two in the lead-up to Scotland’s first try (which he scored). Had a few nervous minutes while the TMO reviewed Scotland’s fourth try, but he ultimately timed his dive for the line brilliantly to secure the bonus point.

10. Finn Russell – 7

Kicking was again a mixed bag – to put it kindly – early on. A bad dropped ball in the middle of the park put Scotland under pressure just after the 20 minutes mark, and raised fears that their talismanic playmaker would have one of his off days. But he grew into the game after a couple of excellent cross-field kicks in quick succession set up Maitland’s opening try. A classic half-break and offload set up Greig Laidlaw’s try.

9. Greig Laidlaw – 6

Power, pace and quick thinking for Scotland’s second try. Nailed all four shots at goal. But radar was off beam with some of his kicking from hand and passing. His influence is undeniable and was crucial in a game of this significance, but this will not go down as one of his great performances.

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1. Allan Dell – 5

Smashed his face tackling Chris Vui in 11th minute and didn’t play any further part.

2. Stuart Mcinally – 7

The captain, as always, led from the front. He had seemed like a broken man after last week’s defeat to Ireland, but showed here that he is made of stern stuff.

3. WP Nel – 7

Had a good early carry as Scotland set out their stall. Was penalised when first scrum went down, but lasted the pace for best part of an hour, and the set-piece became a bit of a weapon for Scotland as the game wore on.

4. Grant Gilchrist – 8

A towering line-out performance and deserves equal ranking as  his second-row compadre despite being replaced by Scott Cummings with half an hour to go. Gave up his scrum cap at half-time and it looked like he was really struggling in the heat, which wasn’t a surprise given his phenomenal work-rate.

5. Jonny Gray – 8

Official man-of-the match. Couple of big tackles in the middle of the park during opening minutes helped announce Scotland’s intent. Was still going at the same pace in the final minutes as he was at the beginning despite the sweltering conditions.

6. Magnus Bradbury – 9

His powerful carries, both close to the breakdown and further out, were huge for Scotland – especially when setting the tone early on. Tackled big and frequently as well. Ran himself into the ground for 71 heroic minutes, and proved beyond doubt his value to this World Cup squad.

7. Jamie Ritchie – 9

If Hamish Watson really is irreplaceable – as some have claimed – then nobody has bothered telling this guy. He’d tackle your granny and climb head first into her shopping trolley if Gregor Townsend told him the match ball was in there.

8. Blade Thomson – 8

His athleticism at the line-out was a useful addition, especially in putting Samoa under pressure on their own ball. Good skills, sharp rugby intellect and plenty of desire evident in both defence and attack as Scotland’s new look back-row made their mark.

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16. Fraser Brown – 7

Added real impetus after he replaced McInally in the 52nd minute. Fired some good darts from the touch-line and was the man in control of the ball when Samoa conceded the first of two penalty tries.

17. Gordon Reid – 7

Must have got the fright of his life when he found himself on the park as a replacement for Allan Dell in the 11th minute, but took it all in his stride and lasted the pace.  Will be frustrated that he lost control of the ball as he burrowed for what would have been the bonus-point try around the hour mark, but generally showed himself to be much more than a scrummaging prop.

18. Zander Fagerson – 5

Penalised for not releasing on the deck soon after taking the field in 57th minute. Will hope for a few more minutes against Russia.

19. Scott Cummings – 6

Brought intensity when he replaced Grant Gilchrist. Has already shoved Ben Toolis down the second-row pecking order and the two experienced guys currently occupying the boiler-house will be looking over their shoulder.

20. Ryan Wilson – 5

Got the final nine minutes as a replacement for Magnus Bradbury.

21. George Horne – 6

Was desperate to make an impact when he came on for Laidlaw in the 63rd minute and added important tempo as Scotland pushed for that fourth try.

22. Adam Hastings – 5

Got the last five and a bit minutes once the bonus point was in the bag.

23. Duncan Taylor – 5

Gave away one soft penalty after replacing Johnson just after the hour mark, but generally a steadying influence. Is going to struggle to reclaim the No 13 jersey from Chris Harris.

About David Barnes 3912 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

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