Scotland player ratings versus Argentina

Few stand-out performances on a frustrating afternoon at Murrayfield as Sean Maitland adds to his tally

Adam Hastings
Adam Hastings had a tricky afternoon on his first international start at Murrayfield. Image Fotosport/David Gibson

15. Stuart Hogg – 6 out of 10

A bit shaky under the high ball early on, and was clearly frustrated at the lack of spark from Scotland, but made his mark with the major contribution to the game’s only try on 65 minutes when he spotted a gap on the short side of a ruck and sent Sean Maitland over.

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14. Sean Maitland– 7

A sloppy, charged-down clearance put Scotland under more pressure during a haphazard opening quarter, but generally solid on both sides of the ball, and took his try – which was the decisive moment on the match – really well.

13. Huw Jones – 6

Made his tackles, got back to cut-out a grubber as it bounced dangerously in the in-goal area just before Moyano, but didn’t have much opportunity to make an impact with the ball in hand.

12.  Finn Russell – 6

The stand-off to centre initiative fell flat when the conditions mitigated against the game-plan of trying to go around Argentina’s narrow blitz-defence. He’s a spontaneous player who doesn’t profit from the extra time he gets at 12 to assess the situation. Was caught out when trying to take a quick 22, handing possession right back to opposite number Jeronimo de la Fuente, and was lucky Huw Jones saved his blushes. Had a good touch-finder off turnover ball towards the end of the first half, but generally struggled to get into the game. Switched in to stand-off on the hour mark and with Dunbar providing some beef in midfield the back-line looked far better balanced. We’ve waited a long time to have options at stand-off, now we have got that there is no need to get greedy by trying to accommodate both in the starting XV.

11. Blair Kinghorn – 6

Promising break in opening minutes after quick hands from Hogg and Hastings raised hopes that this might be one the thrilling days at Murrayfield, but had few opportunities to make an impact thereafter. Gave away the penalty for holding-on after being handed possession behind the gain-line with nowhere to go, but, fortunately for Scotland, Sanchez missed the opportunity to put the tourists into the lead. Replaced by Byron McGuigan on 67 minutes.

Birlinn Books

10. Adam Hastings – 6

Gave away two kickable penalties in first half hour. The first for a high tackle which Emiliano Boffeli missed from long range; the second for holding onto the ball on the deck when he was left isolated by a couple of forwards who seemed to be taking a breather, which Nicolas Sanchez kicked to finally get his team off the mark. Gave away another penalty for sealing off the tackled man at start of the second-half, which allowed Sanchez to once again tie the match. Sparked Scotland into life when he broke from midfield to launch the move which culminated in Laidlaw’s second penalty in the 32nd minute, but generally struggled to get things moving and Scotland tended to crab across the park in attack before getting caught behind the gain-line. Was replaced by Dunbar on the hour mark. We expect an awful lot from our young players and need to remember that Hastings is still learning his trade during his first season as a frontline Glasgow Warriors player

9. Greig Laidlaw – 7

Official man-of-the-match. Did what he said he was going to do: which was get Scotland over line with a win by any means necessary. Kicked nine points. Conversion came off the woodwork and a long-range penalty late on fell just short but he astutely took long enough over it to leave Argentina having to score a length of the field try in overtime, which Scotland had no real problem containing. Cool heads win matches.

Birlinn Books

1. Allan Dell – 6

Worked hard in defence with ten tackles but managed just four metres from three carries – which says it all, really. Won a useful turnover when he stripped Guido Petti Pagadizaval in the tackle just before the hour mark. Scrum stacked up but lack of real ballast in the front-five is a concern. Replaced by Alex Allan on 67 minutes.

2. Fraser Brown – 6

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma indicated after the match that he expected the Scottish hooker to be cited for his shining arm which caught Ramiro Moyano on the head, but referee Paul Williams ruled that it was only a penalty on the day. Battled hard for everything, as he always does, before being replaced by McInally on the hour mark.

3. Simon Berghan – 6

It is a fine line between being competitive and being illegal at the breakdown, and the tight-head was penalised twice in quick succession as he competed for the the ball at the tackle, which allowed Argentina to escape their half then kick for goal, and Scotland were lucky that Nicolas Sanchez missed a sitter – which was one of four kicks at goal the Argentineans missed. Worked hard around the park without really making an impact – four carries for a total of one metre gained. Replaced by WP Nel on 49 minutes

4. Grant Gilchrist – 6

A decent, solid performance for the full 80-minutes.

5. Jonny Gray – 6

You’ll never get anything less than 110 per cent from this guy with 19 tackles on this occasion. Tried to take the game to Argentina but fumbled the ball on a couple of occasions when hitting the line hard. Replaced by Sam Skinner on 67 minutes.

6. Jamie Ritchie– 8

Has grown as an internationalist over this series. Scotland’s best performer in this one. In the middle of everything from start to finish. Tackled hard, carried hard, competed hard at the breakdown and was a useful line-out option.

7. Hamish Watson – 7

Scavenged for everything. The team’s top tackler with 20, and joint top carrier with nine.

8. Josh Strauss – 6

Scotland needed their big men to get into the game and put the team on the front foot, but apart from one or two carries their number eight was largely anonymous. He did seem to give consideration to getting involved in a couple of rucks, but then thought better of it. He was out the national side for 17-months before injuries prompted a call-up this Autumn, and could now face another period in the wilderness. Was replaced by Ryan Wilson on 49 minutes.



16. Stuart McInally – 6

Brown will keep pushing him hard, but the Edinburgh man is still the number one number two.

17. Alex Allan – 6

Made a good cover tackle on Santiago Cancelliere, who had just brushed past Dunbar. Just 65 minutes of rugby over the last four weeks – he surely needs more game time to establish whether he is a genuine contender at loose-head.

18. Willem Nel – 6

Got involved with a couple of carries during the last 30 minutes. Penalised for dropping the scrum right in front of his posts with seven minutes to go, which allowed Sanchez to get Argentina back to within a converted try.

19. Sam Skinner – 6

Did brilliantly to track back 40-metres and and make the tackle on de la Fuente as Argentina streaked towards the line with eight minutes to go.

20. Ryan Wilson – 6

Brought much needed energy when he came on with half an hour to go.

21. George Horne – N/A

Didn’t get on.

22. Alex Dunbar – 6

Missed one tackle but ripped the ball loose for an important turnover when Argentina were building pressure going into the last ten minutes. His beef in midfield would have been useful earlier in the match.

23. Byron McGuigan – 6

Chased hard and did well to fell Sanchez on his own line with 10 minutes to go after Russell’s smart kick ahead off turnover ball. Latched onto Russell’s clever chip towards the touchline with three minutes to go, but couldn’t quite get it past the last man with his own kick ahead.

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About David Barnes 3956 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.