RWC23: Scotland v Georgia: Scotland player ratings

Big performances from Duhan van der Merwe and Jack Demspey as hosts stretch clear after the break

Duhan van de Merwe scored two tries for Scotland in their last World Cup warm-up match versus Georgia. Photo credit should read: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Duhan van de Merwe scored two tries for Scotland in their last World Cup warm-up match versus Georgia. Photo credit should read: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

15. Ollie Smith – 7

A cool customer at the back who is solid in defence, although he perhaps could have taken more of a lead in dealing with Georgia’s first half aerial bombardment. Increasingly prominent in attack during the second half but Blair Kinghorn looks the more incisive at this stage.

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14. Kyle Steyn – 7

A more than competent replacement for Darcy Graham, who took his try tally to nine in 14 matches. 83 metres made is not to be sniffed at, but will perhaps feel that he could have finished off that first half effort in the corner. A tidier all-round player than van der Merwe but lacks his fellow South African’s raw tackle-busting power, and doesn’t have Darcy Graham’s explosive pace and dancing feet, so seems destined to carry on as the Cinderella winger.

13. Huw Jones – 7

Was dangerous when he got a chance to run his great lines off Tuipulotu but Scotland’s desire to sit deep and go wide to wide in the first half meant his impact was limited. Got caught upright when Scotland tried to attack off a quick line-out midway through the first half.

12. Sione Tuipulotu – 6

Tidy enough but not the imposing figure we have become used to seeing in the dark blue No 12 jersey during the last two years.

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 8

Two tries and the game’s top carrier with 112 metres made, with five clean breaks and 10 defenders beaten.

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10. Finn Russell – 7

One hospital pass to WP Nel summed up his harum-scarum first half, when his desire to stretch Georgia from touchline to touchline without earning the right to go wide played into their hands, but pin-point accurate outside-of-the-boot cross-kick created van der Merwe’s first try after the break, and started looking more like his imperious best when attacking the line during the next 10 minutes before being replaced by Ben Healy on 52 minutes.

9. Ben White – 6

Good to see him back after that ankle injury three weeks ago and there wasn’t much wrong with his fitness, although he perhaps looked lightly undercooked when it came to game-management during that rudderless first half.


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1. Jamie Bhatti – 7

A solid shift at the scrum and came out on top against highly-rated Beka Gigashvili, and a couple of great carries, including a crucial one in the lead-up to Darge’s try, which was his final act of the day before being replaced by Rory Sutherland.

2. Dave Cherry – 6

Solid at set-piece, robust around the park. Didn’t do his chances of making the team for the big Tests any harm, but neither will he feel he significantly boosted his prospects. Its going to be a tight call between three strong contenders for the No 2 jersey.

3. WP Nel – 7

The old warhorse weighed in with eight tackles – only Gilchrist and Dempsey in the Scotland team managed more. The scrum was on top too.

4. Sam Skinner – 6

Threw himself at everything for 59 minites before being replaced by the equally committed Scott Cummings for the final quarter

5. Grant Gilchrist – 7

Gave away 10th minute penalty which Georgia turned into the first points of the match for not rolling away. A brilliant grafters and the heartbeat of the pack, who struggled to make an impact with ball in hand but weighed in with 11 tackles was more effective in defence than as a carrier in this match,

6. Jamie Ritchie – 7

Was in danger of letting the red mist descend when he was illegally pulled down by Aka Tabutsadze whilst at the height of his jump, which was madness at this stage in Scotland’s World Cup preparation.

7. Rory Darge – 7

Will be annoyed at himself for being brushed off a tackle on Georgia’s No 10 straight from the kick-off after Georgia’s early penalty, which aided the visitors in getting straight back on the front foot, and struggled to get into the game initially, but kept plugging away and eventually things turned his way. Final flourish was Scotland’s crucial second try, before being replaced by Fagsrerson.

8. Jack Dempsey – 8

Carried on from where he left off in Saint-Etienne with another energetic performance. Penalised for not releasing on the deck during a scrappy first 10 minutes but thereafter carried for 63 metres, beating five defenders, which was more than any other forward on the park. Was asp his team’s top tackler with 13. His quick feet and ability to wriggle an extra few yards in contact is a real asset.

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Replacements –

16. Ewan Ashman – 7

Rampaging run off the tail of a line-out on 65 minutes highlighted what he can add to this team. The line-out darts were on point and a bundle of energy and physicality around the park.

17. Rory Sutherland – 6

It says something about Jamie Bhatti – surplus to requirements at both Glasgow and Edinburgh in the not so distant past– that he is managing to keep a 2021 Lions Test player, who isn’t exactly playing badly, as third choice loose-head.

18. Javan Sebastian – 7

Great choke tackle earned a scrum for his team, from which he earned his team a penalty, which was the sort of impact he would have been looking for as he pushes for a place in the match0day 23 to face South Africa.

19. Scott Cummings – 6

Took the game to Georgia but remains behind Gilchrist and Richie Gray in the pecking order.

20. Matt Fagerson – 7

Gave notice that he will not give up on a starting spot without a fight by producing an energetic and abrasive 28 minutes of the bench.

21. George Horne – 6

Brought energy during the final quarter although not quite as prominent as some of his fellow replacements.

22, Ben Healy – 7

Brave take in the air under pressure at the start of 28 valuable minutes showed the fortitude of a player who is desperately short of time in the saddle at this level given the high pressure position he plays. Fired out a Finn-esque miss-pass to set up van der Merwe’s second try (having failed to land a similar one a few minutes earler).

23. Chris Harris – 7

Another player who made a strong case to be involved in at least the match-day 23 for the big games in France, but ould he have found George Horne on his left when he found himself behind the Georgian defence on 63 minutes?


RWC23: Scotland v Georgia: second half surge sees hosts home

About David Barnes 4011 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.

6 Comments

  1. I dont think White is fully right yet after his injury. I think Townsend has a bit of a call to make over who starts at 9 for the SA game.

    Tuipulotu doesnt seem to have been himself since the 6 nations. I’m wondering if Townsend has been keeping some centre plays up his sleeve for the world cup and if perhaps Tuipulotu will run more directly there. He hasnt been kicking much recently either so perhaps that is being saved for the world cup.

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  2. Rugby Fan – absolute drivel.

    Was impressed with Ashman when he came on after being quiet previously, think he may make the bench slot now. Offers more in the loose than Cherry, but had been let down by throwing in before, however on point with all his darts yesterday and some explosive runs to boot.

    Harris looked good when he came on, some great lines – as said in commentary at the time, the Georgian 9 ran a really good cover line to block off the pass to Horne (who also ran ‘away’ from Harris rather than in direct support). Deservedly in the WC squad, rather than you implying he is behind another 8 centres…

    Think Healy will improve with game time, blessed with Russell, so any other player will feel like a drop off. Did his job, great kicker and look forward to seeing him develop with the Ed backline.

    Didn’t think White really put his best foot forward, but then who did in that first half… Tuipolotu been very quiet so far, not as much direct running, hope he improves.

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    • I was very pleased with how the forwards dominated the set piece especially as that has traditionally been one of the strongest elements of the Georgian game.

  3. Wow some out there scores for me…. Ashman was fairly dire….n 6 for Horne???? Seriously he was in a different dimension to white…..Harris did pick a line but any one of our best 7 or 8 centres would have done same and they would all have sent ball to Horne for a try. Healy getting a 7 for big kicks and completing one pass….sorry but there’s good reasons his club and Ireland weren’t interested in a Poundland sexton

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