RWC23: Ireland v Scotland: Scotland player ratings

A depressing set of numbers after a depressing night for Gregor Townsend's boys

Ireland full-back Hugo Keenan stops Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe in his tracks. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ireland full-back Hugo Keenan stops Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe in his tracks. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

15. Blair Kinghorn – N/A

Retired with concussion in eighth minute — a miserable way to celebrate his 50th cap.

 

14. Darcy Graham – 5

Frozen out by tight Irish defence. Went looking for space but found it hard to come by, and maybe not totally convincing in the air early on. Taken off with a hip-flexor injury nine minutes into second half.

13. Huw Jones – 4

Disappointing game, thwarted by slow ball and the claustrophobic Irish defence. Only managed to slip his shackles once – when he ran strongly to set up Ali Price’s try. Defensively, he was sucked in badly in lead up to Keenan’s first try.

12.  Sione Tulpulotu – 5

Carried strongly when he could (156 metres from 21 carries) and tackled hard, but completely overshadowed by Bundee Aki. Kept going to the end, and did well setting up Ewan Ashman’s try.

11.  Duhan van der Merwe – 4

Forfeited possession cheaply twice in early phase of ascendancy, then totally marginalised by the Irish defence, apart from a strong run in the final minute of the game. Got himself overly involved in the needless second half scuffle.


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10.  Finn Russell – 6

A hard night swimming against the tide. A few sizzling passes early on but unremitting pressure forced misjudgement and inaccuracy. The master against the magician with the cards heavily stacked in the master’s favour.

9.  Ali Price – 6

Busy and tidy under immense pressure and took his try well.

 

1.  Pierre Schoeman – 7

Scrummed securely against Tadhg Furlong, worked hard, repeatedly carried strongly.

2. George Turner – 4

Scrum went reasonably well but line-out was poor, though not solely down to the throw. Quiet about the pitch.

3.  Zander Fagerson – 5

By and large, kept the scrum honest but did not show much outside.

4.  Richie Gray – 4

Big problems in the line-out and anonymous elsewhere.

5. Grant Gilchrist – 4

Badly exposed for the tone-setting first try and found wanting. Lacked his usual spirit and drive.

6. James Ritchie – 6

Rib injury in 20th minute led to his early departure. Badly missed. Questions have to be asked about his declining three kickable penalties in opening 10 minutes when managing the scoreboard should have been a critical consideration.

7. Rory Darge – 4

Got lost in the maelstrom of Irish aggression and raw power.

8. Jack Dempsey – 5.

A difficult night but some strong carries off the back of the scrum, one of which led to Ewan Ashman’s try.

 

Replacements

16. Ewan Ashman – 6  (for George Turner in 59th minute)

Brought a distinct improvement to the line-out, put himself about enthusiastically in the loose and grabbed a consolation try.

17. Rory Sutherland – 4  (for Pierre Schoeman in 52nd minute)

Maybe did not look completely comfortable in the scrum, but the boat had sunk well before he got on the pitch.

18. WP Nel –4  (for Zander Fagerson in 59th minute)

Stood in the scrum but did little else.

19.  Scott Cummings – 5 (for Grant Gilchrist in 47th minute)

A couple of good line-out takes and looked eager.

20.  Matt Fagerson – 5  (for Jamie Ritchie in 18th minute) 

Fought hard – but it was token resistance.

21. Luke Crosbie – 5  (for Rory Darge in 64th minute)

The game was well gone by the time he got on – but he hung in there.

22.  George Horne – 6  (for Darcy Graham in 49th minute)

Did not look out of place on wing and was not shy in looking for work.

23.  Ollie Smith – 4  (for Blair Kinghorn in 8th minute)

Flew up out of line for Keenan’s second try and let himself and his team-mates down badly with his petulant trip on Johnny Sexton. Not a great day at the office!


RWC23: Ireland v Scotland reaction: Townsend praises Irish excellence

46 Comments

  1. All the hype, all the hope and we get Duhan van der Merwe the great white dope.

    This guy is a pure athlete and what a speciman but he is not an international class rugby player.

    Yes he can run and hard to stop once going but has gifted as many tries as he has scored. He has no positional sense, cannot tackle, pass or kick to the required standard.

    Also happy to stick two fingers up to Edinburgh and the SRU who gave him a chance and then came running back with his tail bwetween his legs.

    I will get loads of thumbs down for having a go at him but on form and overall rugby ability Stein should have been picked to start.

    He was one of several of our so called “leading lights” or more like show ponies who disappeared without trace such as the powder puff Fagerson senior, Darge to name a few.

    Where are our Peter O’Mahony’s who gives absolutely everything everytime he plays and what a special touch to have his 100th cap jersey presented to him by his mum Caroline.

    We still produce technically skilled back rowers but where has all the grit and aggression and will to win gone we had in buckets with your Calders, Jefferies et al and Jason White who said our performance was embarrassing.

    Once again we have been weighed, measured and found wanting and in reality not one of Scotlands team would get into this Irish side.

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    • On an individual level I think many of our players are as good as the Irish. Z Fag and Schoe gave as good as their opposites in the scrum. I’d certainly keep Finn and Dempsey and Horne. Our centres played better than theirs earlier in the year but they have faded and Aki has improved every game. The main difference is in the top 2 inches. Our pro teams get beat by theirs it’s been years since our national team neat theirs. When the dam finally breaks we may see a change in mentality. Look what a 1st win at Twickers did.

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  2. Name another international team that could have got out of that pool. I wouldnt be surprised if these two teams that thrashed Scotland compete in the final and we see record wins in the Semi’s due the otherside of the draw being so weak.

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    • “Name another international team that could have got out of that pool.”

      France could have. NZ could have. The key word being “could”.

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    • The point is not results, the quality of the opposition determines the result, the point here is performance, that is down to the coaches and players. So for me the key question then is – did the Scottish team perform in key RWC fixtures? If we think the answer is that they did not perform to their potential – irrespective of result – I think we are entitled to ask why. Wider discussion could include consideration of performance at the last RWC under the same coach. Discussion is undoubtedly skewed by the 5th placed ranking but as above that is to some extent influenced by the performance of the other sides.

    • France would almost certainly have gotten out of the group and NZ would be very close. I wouldn’t even rule out Wales after the way they played against Australia who beat us comfortably last time out.

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  3. I firmly believe that the main problem with Scottish Rugby is the Fat Controller at Murrayfield…..go figure!

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  4. The following would have made no difference to the end result; however, I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the woeful performance by the TMO and referee. Just two important and adverse decisions for Scotland were an Irish player’s foot on the line after catching a kick, which should have resulted in a 50:22 and the Irish try, which the ref whistled as grounded when he clearly did not have sight of the ball and which in replay seemed to show it being stopped short by three Scots players. The TMO’s performance, in particular, should be reviewed before future games in this world cup.

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    • The appalling TMO and referee have been mentioned elsewhere. To add to the decisions you mention, there was potential blocking for the first Irish try and a very clear forward pass leading up to the second Irish try. Absolutely disgraceful that these incidents were either missed or ignored and that the referee refused to review. While Scotland still may not have won, with a decent refereee/TMO I think that the score would have been a lot closer.

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  5. Jamie Ritchie’s points ? Was it his decision to opt out of two early very kickable penalties – that decision still baffles me – appointing JR as captain has been a rollercoaster – indifferent performances and constant whinging at referees leaves me wondering if his captaincy should be reviewed

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  6. Sorry as an aside just watched Portugal and Fiji THAT is what Rugby Union Football is all about, sheer joy for supporters and players first win , why the determination of the players to give every ounce of heart for that jersey. Lessons to be learned?

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  7. We just look so out-muscled and outplayed in our back 5. Really think now is the time to be ruthless and have a fresh start. Ritchie hasn’t performed to his previous standards for a while but captaincy made him virtually undroppable. He needs time to find mis mojo again so I would go with Fagerson, Dempsey and Crosbie in the back row. We have a biggish pool of locks but none really stand out, Richie Gray as a line out option perhaps but he doesn’t have much time left. Can we not look at Hunter-Hill – a regular Sarries pick – and then teach Cummings to cage-fight. Always thought Ben Toolis was given short thrift and then he drifted off, leaving Gilchrist as first pick when can’t see what he delivers other than a line out option. Also think we play well off 9 rather than constantly expecting Finn to do the magic on his own. Would like a more, pact sniping SH – Horne, Vellacott and possibly Dobie. Something need’s shaking up to see if we can remove this ceiling we keep hitting. It’s going to be hard to break into the top 4 but I would like to think we could at least make them sweat a bit more while also ensuring Wales and England don’t end up overtaking us again

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  8. It’s so clear that front foot Scotland is a different beast from NOT front foot Scotland.
    That’s where it bemuses me that little contingency is made (other than Finn Russell’s excellence) for the achievement of aforementioned front foot ball.
    I like Hastings/Healy at 15 they bring a sort of all round game that can kick run pass.
    Hogg was magnificent but gone, Kinghorn is a very good instinctive player but gives no control (& alas not to be trusted) , Smith is big strong willing but………..
    Back row…… we need big nasty boys that can take on the du Toits O’Mahoneys at their own game, Crosbie is that fellow.
    Whilst I on I like Paddy Harrison Ben Muncaster Tom Jordan and Kyle Rowe

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  9. No marks from me .
    The so called best squad ever don’t deserve any marks .
    Just a bunch of overrated feardies …outmananouvered in every department by ruthless Ireland..
    Hype doesn’t win matches .
    Ps
    Had to be said

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  10. I doubt I will get many thumbs up but never the less this is my humble view. So sadly i got my prediction on all the matches correct, yes, yes I know it was not difficult. The team thought were dreadful with the odd exception they seem to just roll over no desire and very little fight. They were like startled school boys frightened ( my wifes quote). Darcy seemed to think you tackle once they have passed you Finn was not great. Whilst I can point the finger at the players and who seemed desperate to leave the pitch. Do we have a defensive coach? But the buck stop with Mr Townsend who is way out his depth,this was a 6 Nation team we were playing.Of course he will step down now,oh wait we have just given him a new contract wish I had SRU as my bosses Failure !! Your rewarded. Ah well had a great time in France met some great Romanians, Chileans,English and French. So back to Murrayfield and prediction 4th or 5th in the 6 Nations. Please Mr Townsend do the right thing and go.

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  11. I doubt I will get many thumbs up but never the less this is my humble view. So sadly i got my prediction on all the matches correct, yes, yes I know it was not difficult. The team thought were dreadful with the odd exception they seem to just roll over no desire and very little fight. They were like startled school boys frightened ( my wifes quote). Darcy seemed to think you tackle once they have passed you Finn was not great. Whilst I can point the finger at the players and who seemed desperate to leave the pitch. Do we have a defensive coach? But the buck stop with Mr Townsend who is way out his depth,this was a 6 Nation team we were playing.Of course he will step down now,oh wait we have just given him a new contract wish I had SRU as my bosses Failure !! Your rewarded. Ah well had a great time in France met some great Romanians, Chileans,English and French. So back to Murrayfield and prediction 4th or 5th in the 6 Nations. Please Mr Townsend do the right thing and go.

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    • And the new coach is going to find 15 new players who are better?, Scottish rugby supporters live in fairy fairy land ,we punch above our weight considering the appalling structure that our club rugby, age group rugby,and so called professional teams are in. Who was the coach when Glasgow won something?. Start at the bottom and get rid of the freeloaders who dominate Scottish Rugby, good buildings have strong foundations, the SRU have and are driving club rugby to oblivion!

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      • I think you’re missing the point. It’s tactics and coaching that caused this latest embarrassment. Not for the first time either.

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      • Spot on Martin. We are the best of the nations from 5 and down the rankings. However, a culture has to be built with a wide system that has a vision bigger and better than those ranked above us if we want to compete at future world cups. It is achievable. However, the structure has to include all and everyone of us in the communities. Build a culture, build a vision that everyone is on board with and is designed for all to create the success. Time for change yes but lets move on. Its about unity from here though Voices need to be heard, respected and listened to. Those in powerful and director roles have a responsibility to look beyond their noses….

      • I see this kind of response all the time. both problems are true at the same time.

        The main question here is whether you think, with the players we have, if we had a Gatland, or a Farrell in place, do you honestly think you’d see those kind of performances (i.e. losing in the same way with the same mistakes etc) against these kinds of teams in the way we just have? I think our first 15/23 is talented and decent. Toony has got them playing in a certain way that has done well against England (mainly, who’ve been a basket-case of coaching in recent years) and a couple of others occasionally. When it comes to meeting a team with good coaching set-ups (Ireland / Wales in particular) and hard-to-beat cultures, we tend to not know how to handle. This is an issue going back years, all of which Toony has been in charge. What is the point of continuing with someone who’s been in charge that long and got out of the group stages of 2 WC’s in succession – and won nothing else. dont’ we want to at least try someone new with this talented group to see what they can do?

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    • >Darcy seemed to think you tackle once they have passed you

      I guess Darcy has figured out basic physics in his rugby career. He’s not 200+ lbs and can just stand in the way of someone running onto him that’s 50% heavier and expect a good outcome. He’s also one of the quickest in the game. It’s easier to tackle someone trying to get round you for getting round their hips and with some momentum than someone running straight at you as two blunt forces where you’re the lighter object. You may lose a metre or two of possession but there’s the compromise.

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  12. Bit harsh on Richie Gray, thought he had a decent game and good contribution throughout the game. Not always the catcher at fault when the lineout goes wrong.

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  13. I thought Richie Gray carried well yesterday so I think the rating of 4 is very harsh , that said I sometimes wonder if the person allocating the scores watches the game. Gray carried the burden of not playing another ball carrier rather than Darge. Hamish Watson omission from squad was very disappointing on this basis. How can you possibly give Jamie Ritchie a 6 when he was on for only 20 mins and during that time took two highly questionable decisions to turn down 3 points ?
    George Horne a 6 ????
    The difference in play between last week and this week for Darcy Graham was also quite stark , you could not keep him on his wing last week by coming in looking for work , went missing this week .. optimistic 5..

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  14. It’s interesting to read the game stats on the RWC site , if you did not know the score you would look at them and think it was a close game and that stat wise Scotland edged it. Gray a 4 with 11 tackles and no misses , Dempsey a 5 with 12 tackles no misses and carries crossed the gain line top with 10. Even the mighty Ringrose missed more tackles than anyone else with 7. I think you are being a bit hard on the guys , from a points view point.

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  15. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Would Harris at 13 have made a difference? Would have stiffened the defence certainly.And Hamish at 7? Darge never really got into the game. Whatever changes could have been made the inescapable fact is that Ireland were a class above us in every facet of the game. They are a high quality side who I think knew they were going to win yesterday before a ball was kicked. That confidence showed in everything they did. We have to accept that the top 4 (Ireland, France, NZ, SA) are way ahead of all the rest. Which makes the RWC draw all the more ludicrous. How do we get to that level? I’m not sure we can. There’s hardly a new generation of potentially world class players hammering on the door demanding selection. We can dream, but realistically we have to accept that we are unlikely ever to be part of that top echelon. It doesn’t really matter who is coach, GT, Cotter or whoever. The deciding factor is talent on the pitch. While we’re a decent side we’re a long way from being a great side. I can’t see that changing any time soon. Unpleasant reality that may be, but an unavoidable fact. Hope now for an Ireland – France final so we get another European name on the trophy. Just as long as England don’t fluke their way into the final. I’m Fijian this week.

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    • All of this is relevant context – and some changes could be debated (certainly would have had STeyn at 23) but ultimately, looking just at the game, this was a collective failure – the squad is talented, each individual player (or several of them) didn’t necessarily have a disaster in terms of the basics of their roles (carries, tackles, effort, scrum etc) but the collective believe, cohesion, rugby smarts, intensity, attitude, just could not match Ireland. And our coach has been in place a lot longer than theirs, and to me, that is a coaching / set-up / culture issue.

      • And given the time to plan for this game and the knowledge of what we were up against, to simply not have any kind of creative plan for this game in attack is unforgiveable. Toony always talks about Russell’s kicking game – why have we not seen it – against either the Boks OR Ireland? It’s totally baffling

    • If Ireland play France it will be a semi final and the winner of England and Wales will meet them in the final. I think we might yet see another win for South Africa

  16. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Would Harris at 13 have made a difference? Would have stiffened the defence certainly.And Hamish at 7? Darge never really got into the game. Whatever changes could have been made the inescapable fact is that Ireland were a class above us in every facet of the game. They are a high quality side who I think knew they were going to win yesterday before a ball was kicked. That confidence showed in everything they did. We have to accept that the top 4 (Ireland, France, NZ, SA) are way ahead of all the rest. Which makes the RWC draw all the more ludicrous. How do we get to that level? I’m not sure we can. There’s hardly a new generation of potentially world class players hammering on the door demanding selection. We can dream, but realistically we have to accept that we are unlikely ever to be part of that top echelon. It doesn’t really matter who is coach, GT, Cotter or whoever. The deciding factor is talent on the pitch. While we’re a decent side we’re a long way from being a great side. I can’t see that changing any time soon. Unpleasant reality that may be, but an unavoidable fact. Hope now for an Ireland – France final so we get another European name on the trophy. Just as long as England don’t fluke their way into the final. I’m Fijian this week.

  17. Springboks A squad got badly beaten up. Baffled why the likes of van der Merwe are in a Scotland squad because even Ireland’s wing replacements (one of them a scrum-half) made monkeys of him. Schoeman should be cited for his assault on Sheehan. As for Kinghorn he should learn to keep his mouth shut.

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  18. In almost every position Ireland had a better player. Couple that with some dubious decisions both by the captain and TMO/ref and defeatist, petulant behaviour by Smith and others plus injuries, it’s amazing we kept Ireland below 50. It’s going to take a good team to beat Ireland who are masters at many things legal and masters at “pushing the limits” even in front of the ref and getting away with it. None of this can a disappointing performance from our key players and I agree with the ratings.

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  19. Sorry Luke Crosbie made a difference when he came on and is worth more than a 5.
    Dempsey was also outstanding. The twin opensides doesn’t work against the big boys – 90% of the difference between us and Ireland was at the breakdown.

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    • Wholly agree with the breakdown being the most significant point of different. Ireland cleared with brutal efficiency giving us very little chance of a turnover and then very quick ball. They were equally effective at disrupting our ball, perhaps loitering on the edge of being legal at times, but getting away with it.

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      • And again – we knew this would be the case cos they do it every year – where was the plan for this?

    • Totally agree. Until we get some heft in our back row, teams like Ireland and the Boks will bully us at the breakdown. (Heft being defined as height and weight). And, no, I don’t know where we can find it!

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      • 4 – Sykes – 6 foot 8 and 121kg
        5 – J.Gray – 6 foot 6 and 122kg
        6 – Crosbie – 6 foot 5 and 112kg
        7 – Richardson – 6 foot 1 and 110kg
        8 – Bradbury – 6 foot 4 and 116kg

        Probably the heftiest back 5 we could out out.

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      • Heft is not just about size it’s about technique, accuracy and aggression. Ireland have a lumpy front row and Bundee Aki. Elsewhere their forwards are rangy and their backs arent massive. Iain Henderson? James Ryan? Peter O’Mahony? Great athletes, great attitude and great togetherness but they’re not giants by Springbok, French or even English standards.

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    • Yes to the breakdown, but defence was terrible out wide. I’ve youtubed the first try in slow motion and no one in the back row is anywhere near the ball. Backs aren’t marking their man and getting drawn in. They should be able to trust their forwards to mop up penetration.

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