Six Nations: Ireland v Scotland: Scotland player ratings

Andy Christie is visitors' top performer

Andy Christie was Scotland's top performer. against Ireland. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Andy Christie was Scotland's top performer. against Ireland. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

15. Blair Kinghorn – 6

The leggy fullback looked far more comfortable under the high ball in Dublin but he also conceded a penalty late in the first half when catching Calvin Nash high. Was threatening with the ball in hand, for perhaps the first time this season, direct and pacey. [Jordan Larmour 6]


Six Nations: Ireland v Scotland reaction: Finn Russell calls for improved mental toughness

Six Nations: Ireland v Scotland report: pride restored in narrow Dublin defeat

Scottish Cup: polished performance sees holders Hawick safely through against Dundee


14. Kyle Steyn – 7

Fulfilled his defensive duties, until bounced by James Lowe immediately after the break, but didn’t get too many opportunities with the ball in hand. Kept going right to the end [Calvin Nash 7]

13. Huw Jones – 7

Sound in defence but a little subdued in attack until he pulled a rabbit out a hat, scoring a brilliant solo effort with three minutes left on the clock to throw his side a lifeline they could not utilise. [Robbie Henshaw 6]

12. Stafford McDowall – 7

A promising Six Nations debut. McDowall enjoyed a brilliant run just before the half hour mark after slipping the tackle of Bundee Aki of all people. Crucially he couldn’t quite get the ball away. Occasionally a little hesitant in defence but he grew in confidence as the match progressed. [Bundee Aki 7]

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 4

Conceded an unnecessary offside penalty in the early exchanges. The big winger was a little lateral with the ball in hand and then penalised for holding on. He did well to regain one of Russell’s high balls in the second half. Not his best showing against an excellent Irish defence. [James Lowe 6]

 

 

10. Finn Russell – 6

Poor early kick, poor pass to Christie but displayed his usual creativity with ball in hand, on the odd occasion he saw it in the second half. Kicked the ball dead from a restart, which galvanised the Irish on the field and in the stands. Not at his best but still emptied the tank in the cause. [Jack Crowley 6]

9. Ben White – 6

Kicked well but a little sloppy at the base with the occasional knock on. Second best to his opposite number JGP but never gave up the fight and caught Gibson-Park in possession in the second half. [Jamison Gibson Park 8]

 

 

1.  Pierre Schoeman – 5

Conceded a scrum penalty on 31 minutes to the irrepressible Tadhg Furlong. Carried tirelessly but also conceded an offside penalty by running behind Andy Christie. Struggled in the set scrum. [Andrew Porter 8]

2. George Turner – 5

An overthrow at the sidelines gifted Dan Sheehan that crucial early try. As Johnny Beattie pointed out at half-time, why are Scotland calling double top five yards from their own try line!? Did better when on for Ashman, stopping one Irish driving maul, in the second half. [Dan Sheehan 7]

3. Zander Fagerson – 5.

Endured a torrid time in the set scrum where Ireland dominated throughout and conceded too many penalties there and at the breakdown. Coughed up the ball early doors in contact, it was to Joe McCarthy but still! On the plus side he carried with malice afore thought and tackled everything that moved. [Tadhg Furlong 7]

4. Grant Gilchrist – 6

Combined with Andy Christie to prevent a second half try by Calvin Nash. A quietish game from the big man who still did plenty of heavy lifting. [Joe McCarthy 7]

5. Scott Cummings – 7

Abrasive and aggressive throughout. Harshly penalised in the second half for catching an Irish arm at a line-out. Worked his socks off for the full eighty. Beginning to look the part. [Tadhg Beirne 7]

6. Andy Christie – 9

Scotland’s best player by a margin. The beating heart of that brave defensive effort. Great charge down on James Lowe early on might have resulted in a try with a luckier bounce. A good turnover on the 20 minute mark. Won another turnover with Jack Dempsey on 32 minutes. Ubiquitous throughout with a work-rate that was off the scale. [Peter O’Mahony 6]

7. Rory Darge – 5

Excellent in defence, as with almost everyone else in blue, but the openside failed to make much of an impact at the breakdown or make huge inroads with the ball in hand. Replaced on 60 minutes by Matt Fagerson. [Josh van der Flier 7]

8. Jack Dempsey – 7

Huge amount of defensive work, like everyone else, including that excellent turnover with Christie on Josh van der Flier. Did brilliantly well in the second half with one incisive run only to pass the pass straight to Gibson-Park. [Caelan Doris 7]

 

 

Replacements –

16. Ewan Ashman – 6

On at 48 minutes, carried, carded, returned.

17. Rory Sutherland – 4

On at 48 minutes but unable to stabilise the shaky Scottish scrum, conceding a free kick.

18. Javan Sebastian – 6

On for the last 10 after being a late call-up to the squad as replacement for Elliot Millar-Mills.

19. Sam Skinner – 6

On for the last 10.

20. Matt Fagerson – 6

Failed to find his man at the sidelines, to no one’s great surprise, when deputising for the carded Ashman..

21. George Horne – 7

Tidy, little to work with, showed his pace with ball in hand but only at the death.

22. Cameron Redpath – 7

Did amazing work holding Robbie Henshaw’s would-be-try off the ground, with help from Christie, and was even spotted in the middle of a maul!

23. Kyle Rowe – 6

Took the high ball cleanly but overcooked one kick to touch to pile more second half pressure on the Scots.

 

  • Kerr’s Borders Gin sponsors  The Offside Line’s Six Nations coverage and to celebrate the partnership, the team at Borders Distillery are offering you a 15% discount on an online purchase of their Kerr’s Gin AND Kerr’s Navy Strength Gin throughout the Men’s Six Nations.
  • Simply visit the distillery’s home page by clicking HERE and use discount code “Strongroots” for the discount to be automatically applied.
  • Please enjoy Kerr’s Gin Responsibly. Over 18s only. Go to drinkaware.co.uk for more information.

Six Nations: Ireland v Scotland reaction: Finn Russell calls for improved mental toughness

About David Barnes 3891 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.

38 Comments

  1. A REPOST but after the comments made regarding our coach I now rest my case .

    So the coach is proud,totally amazed at this statement. We hang on like grim death in Wales to the wooden spoon winners. We loose to France but its the officials fault. We beat England so everythings great and rosie in the garden surely we have got away from this nonsense. We go to Italy arrogant that we are probably playing the wooden spoon winners wrong we get beat no heed of Italys performance in France. On to Dublin where we once again we loose and the coach is proud.I think I witnessed last Scots win in 2010 at Croke Park. Final table finishing 4th now I may be wrong but we had a 3rd place finish last year. So I for one take no pleasure in this campaign and and although it will fall on deaf ears Mr Townsend please give this up , we are going back the way yet again.

  2. Lack of consistency and leadership killed us this year, but my biggest worry is the lack of leadership and a plan from the top. Mark Dodson has left Scottish Rugby in a far worse place, with our U20 side now the wooden spoon team, and we were the only side not to bring through some good young talent this year, Paterson for one game aside.
    We need to have a restructure that puts more emphasis on bringing through home grown players and maybe that way we can compete for titles in the future.

    • I agree what is said about lack of leadership. Rumours abound about GT moving to become Director of rugby. What better way for him to at last be able to create a legacy with hands on involvement in establishing an effective feeder system structure developing and producing battle hardened, mentally and physically, players ready to step up to the international team. This would also allow Scotland to hire a new head coach with a successful track record to bring a fresh approach and new ideas to get the best from the players, at least on a competitive basis. Look at what the new Italian coach has produced in such a short time in terms of style of play, tactical nous in how to negate the opposition and the intensity of commitment. Seven years is a fair trial period but staleness of ideas and complacency can kick in.

      We should also look to the future to maximise use of the talents of home grown coaches within the structure, Mark and Ben Cairns, to name but two.

  3. IMO BK is just a show pony who does not perform at FB to the standard required at international level, and is certainly not skilful enough at FH either.

    6
    5
  4. I think GT has taken the squad as far as he can with his playing philosophy & coaching skills. I would support a change.
    BTW White 6, Horne 7 is a joke!

    7
    1
  5. It is easy to be critical but with the smallest player pool and the smallest or 2nd smallest player budget we do somehow pack a team that plays exciting rugby and can win games against (almost) anyone. We need to build our leadership group that is essential to cut down the concentration brain farts and the penalties and need to get our packs more knarly and street wise that other teams have. So chapeau to the coaches for finding players and turning them into a fine team that was in every game in the final minute but we do need to find a bit more dog in the squad. Summer tour of the americas is probably what we need (phew) .. rest fin, Zander, white and let Healy, Cam Hastings, Hutchinson , see which of the next gen forwards can step up .. i think we actually need Christie at 7 to get another lineout option at 6 so I would like to see Bradbury with another chance at 6… and lets hope that Glasgow and Edinburgh can push on for the rest of the season.

  6. Another 6N goes by. Full of could haves, should haves and what ifs for Scotland. Again. Pluses, Christie clearly the find of the tournament. Rowe, Patterson, Crosbie, McDowell, Redpath, Cummings now a proper international class lock, Tuipolotu/Jones combination as good as any pairing anywhere. Not much else to get excited about. Even Finn, brilliant at times, disappeared to an extent over the last 2 games. As to the future the summer tour to North & South America will allow GT to give a lot of his front line players the summer off which is no bad thing given the crowded calendar. Will be able to have a good look at fringe players. Williamson, Samuel, Bayliss, Miller, Muncaster, Dobie, Thompson, Hutchinson, Reed, Craig,, Young, Sykes and others. Mcbeth, Jordan, McKay (if they’re now qualified and interested). Maybe we’ll unearth a few gems while hopefully winning 4 successive games, or am I being overly optimistic? But next season must be Gregor’s last chance. Another year of underachievment and he can’t in all conscience see his contract through to 2026. As to who would take over. Any ideas?

    17
    2
    • Problem is that some of the really key players could easily be Lions. Meaning that if they are left at home that is two summers without them being involved with Scotland and it is the best time to implement any significant changes to game plan.

      There really does need to be a freshening up from the coaches. Whether that is game plan, assistant coaches or GT himself I’m not sure.

      When was the last time we tried anything clever with the forwards? A clever line out move, or variation from a tap penalty etc?

      • Hear what you are saying but we need to think of player succession and getting exposure against weaker tier 2 sides will be essential to identifying the players who will step up and getting experience under their belts. These games might not be against top class opposition but it’ll be out if players comfort zones with expectation of winning well. Uruguay and Chile in particular will want to show their RWC chops were no flash in the pans.

        Also, wonder if Roebuck might be tempted. On Reddit someone claiming to be a friend of the family claimed he was bitterly disappointed at having passed up opportunity of RWC with Scotland on basis of promise from Borthwick about getting 6N involvement but he’s been kept on margins whilst Wabosi has leapfrogged him. He’s not yet cap tied yet and wasn’t involved in the A side game either.

  7. “Really proud “ Gregor ? When the defeat came from glaring errors from players you are coaching. You have set the bar way too low then and that is the main reason your teams have underachieved. This isn’t a “blame the coach “. It’s a “change the mindset, please.

    9
    13
  8. Time to pension off Gilchrist and some of the other old faithful coaches pets who have reached their performance ceiling.
    Use the Summer Tour as a development one for identifying whether the next generation have the cajones for test rugby. Freddie Douglas should definitely go and probably both the young Glasgow locks, a position where we are distinctly underpowered. We have strength in the centre so McDowall should go. Dobie, Rowe and Paterson are others who need to go.
    We might lose a game or two but the benefit will be a group with a tough tour behind them as the basis of the squad rebuild which needs to be carried out.

    20
    2
  9. Agree with most pundits Christie was not just Scotland’s best player but to me MOM. We are now rich in centers ,with McDowall firmly in the frame now. I think unfortunately that leaves Hutchinson further out of the frame. We still have a few positions where we are thread bare namely 10 & 15.

  10. Graham Crosbie Hastings (I like him at 15) Tuipulotu noteworthy additions to yesterday’s squad.
    Wishlist – new head coach, new captain (Crosbie) 4 wins out of 4 in the summer.
    That’ll do me

    8
    2
  11. Seen some incredibly harsh criticism for Scotland yesterday. Thought we played extremely well at a venue where we haven’t won since 2010 and no one has won in 18 tests before yesterday. Yes we made mistakes but the physical and mental toll of that defensive shift can’t be underestimated and we put ourselves in with a long shot at the end. Best defensive performance from us in years.

    Doesn’t excuse a disappointing championship and sense that Townsend probably doesn’t know how to take us further. 6N is more competitive than its ever been so there is almost zero margin for error and we are still way too inconsistent.

    31
    4
    • When everyone is on their game the 6N is more competitive but almost all 6 teams showed a lack of consistency so the tournament was there for the taking.
      England were poor against us, the real France haven’t turned up,Italy started poorly but have grown with every game, Wales have played for 40 minutes each game even Ireland have not played to their level these last 2 weeks.
      We will slip to 5th next year.

      2
      5
  12. Scotland’s 2nd rows are club level at best. Nowhere near the high ratings given here. Gilchrist and Cummings were off their feet already at the start of the 2nd half. Cummings, Gilchrist and Graham combined to gift Ireland a try with a lineout straight off an U15s training park. Schoeman ridiculous alongside classy Christie and Z Fagerson’s woeful offside offence just pathetic.

    Picking a debutant at key 12 is sheer stupidity and typical of the Townsend era. He did well enough but was clearly finding his feet at Test level. Redpath is a class act who has not been faultless but added so much in attack and defence when he came on.

    Scotland remain a side of world class players trying fit around decidedly average forwards. Townsend’s inability to see outside the narrow lense of not-great Scottish rugby in his bizarre selections means Scotland must look elsewhere (continually picking serial forward offenders, dropping key backs like Russell, Redpath when fit – forcing Kinghorn to play 10 at Test level).

    Triple Crown for the taking – France, Wales and Italy games were a disgrace and Ireland were there for the taking. Our defence was much better vs Ireland, but there are too many non-Test players in the mix. Too many passengers. Reach out to the younger or foreign cohort and replace those who do not deserve to wear the shirt.

    The evidence against these poor players is there in spades – cannot handle, hopeless support lines, dopey in defence and attack. Poor tackle positions – Red cards, yellow cards, key penalties. How great is Darge – seriously? What about Zac Mercer, Bradbury, converting some back rows to 2nd row etc…??

    5
    26
  13. Agree with RuggersB , marks were too high last week and harsh this week.
    The Irish, away from home on Paddy’s weekend going for the title would not be holding back to keep on to their coat tails for so long was no mean feat. The tackle count showed that.
    Christie, the bright light of the tournament for us. Why did it take the coach so long to have the confidence in him to give him more than a cameo.
    As has happened to almost every captain for 20 years, the weight of responsibility has been kryptonite to Darge. Previous 6N his name is synonymous with the commentators surprised exclamation “Darge with another turnover”. Not so this year. Watson is breathing down his neck as will Freddy Douglas from the U20’s- No hang on a minute it’s the SRU , every other nation has a rule if you’re good enough you’re old enough . With us he will have to be 25 before getting on in the back row.
    McDowall was good today , was Redpath, centre is one area that will give the coach a conundrum in future.

    7
    1
  14. Christie is a great “find” though he’s been screaming for a start for 12-18 months now. It was a game made for Crosbie, a real shame we couldn’t see him, Christie and Dempsey as a back row. Also tempted to put Bradbury in the mix and see if he’s finally got the right attitude for international rugby. McDowall impressed with his straight and hard running, maybe could have offloaded a bit more. Back 3 definitely not at their best today, Duhan was so effectively closed down especially when he just ran into the middle of the park. If we had played like that against France and Italy we would probably have won those matches, just so frustrating that we’re so hot and cold.

    11
    1
  15. Christie and McDowall stood out, though obviously the entire team worked hard in making tackles. Jones is simply a class act.
    I was encouraged by Kinghorn under the high ball at the start, then he reverted to type at the end, throwing the ball blindly away in a rare foray into the Irish half. That was costly.

    I have to agree re the comment about the officiating. Cummings should not have been penalised at the line out, which, again, cost us valuable territory, but that was just one poor decision. I would very much like to hear from our lads why our scrum, which has been fine in the set piece throughout the tournament, was suddenly overpowered. That doesn’t seem likely, so how was it achieved?

    11
  16. Christie and McDowall stood out, though obviously the entire team worked hard in making tackles. Jones is simply a class act.
    I was encouraged by Kinghorn under the high ball at the start, then he reverted to type at the end, throwing the ball blindly away in a rare foray into the Irish half. That was costly.

    I have to agree re the comment about the officiating. Cummings should not have been penalised at the line out, which, again, cost us valuable territory, but that was just one poor decision. I would very much like to hear from our lads why our scrum, which has been fine in the set piece throughout the tournament, was suddenly overpowered. That doesn’t seem likely, so how was it achieved?

  17. When do we start to discuss how poorly Darge has adapted to international rugby and how much we miss Hamish on the openside…? Anonymous today, as he was against SA and Ireland in the RWC.

    14
    6
  18. Rowe was a country mile better than Kinghorn. I am now convinced BK should be a bench option to be unleashed only in case of emergency.

    McDowell was good, but so was Redpath – our depth at centre is right up there.

    Christie phenomenal. He could have been player of the tournament if only he had a coach that knew what he was doing.

    Carley was an utter disgrace. How he can award that Porter try from his position is absolutely beyond me.

    Scotland have not really had any help from the officials this tournament but that is something we also seem happy just to accept for the sake of not upsetting our betters.

    However, all the poor officiating in the world cannot hide how poor a tournament this was from Scotland. For those that missed it, we finished 4th in what was probably the poorest quality 6Ns in more than a decade.

    All in all, I’m pretty disgusted. The thought of shelling out hundreds of pounds for next year’s season tickets is far from appealing at the moment.

    31
    9
    • On what basis do you criticise Kinghorn. He was much better than last week, never dropped a kick and made some half breaks that got us going forward. One error in offloading wildly in 2nd half.

      16
      10
      • Ross, I didn’t actually. I just said Rowe was better.

        BK did have a few good moments ball in hand yesterday. He did field high balls (but that is the minimum you expect of your FB surely) but he also cost us half the field twice at crucial moments during the second half with what appear to be mental lapses.

        BTW, I was calling for BK to replace Hogg at FB several years ago but I think Rowe now looks a better all round fit there.

        I am grateful we have BK at our disposal, I would just use him a bit more selectively.

        6
        2
    • Agree abut BK 100%. The guy has 50+ caps and is occasionally great when making a break in open play (in fairness he made a few of them yesterday) but far too often he throws a wild pass, kicks aimlessly or makes a stupid decision that is hugely costly, his last one yesterday lost the team significant ground after a massive defensive effort when surely he should have known to hold onto the ball, wait for support and give his team some respite. He just comes across as the big fast bloke from school who always gets in the team because he does some flashy stuff but hasn’t really got a clue. By all means throw him on at the end as a Hail Mary but he isn’t the guy to start and implement a game plan and/or adapt as teh game progresses.

      11
      2
    • Agree abut BK 100%. The guy has 50+ caps and is occasionally great when making a break in open play (in fairness he made a few of them yesterday) but far too often he throws a wild pass, kicks aimlessly or makes a stupid decision that is hugely costly, his last one yesterday lost the team significant ground after a massive defensive effort when surely he should have known to hold onto the ball, wait for support and give his team some respite. He just comes across as the big fast bloke from school who always gets in the team because he does some flashy stuff but hasn’t really got a clue. By all means throw him on at the end as a Hail Mary but he isn’t the guy to start and implement a game plan and/or adapt as teh game progresses.

    • I’m not disgusted. I’m delighted. For many years, not least these recent years, the Scottish team has hugely entertained us with sparkling inventive rugby and valiant effort; and as a bonus occasionally thrilled us and made us proud with many wonderful victories. Lots of respect is due. So what if they don’t always win? Given the relatively tiny pool of players to draw on, it is a wonder that the Scottish team features at all at International level. Of course there are mistakes; yes, there is scope for improvements at game, youngster, club and national levels; and there are disappointments. Not every player can be, should be, a ‘hero’. It’s a team game. This is for sure: harsh judgments, name-calling from the side-lines, and venting of personal frustrations about these lads does no-one any good. I hope that the players enjoy themselves, and continue to want to play as much as I want to watch and support them. This is a joyous game, not some kind of existential test awaiting a ‘pass’ from those who are almost impossibly hard to please. Thank you, Scottish team(s), for many many hours of excitement and pleasure.

      15
      3
      • A lot of what you say is true.

        I agree it is remarkable we have so many great players available given the challenges rugby faces in Scotland. And nobody is arguing that Scotland is not much more entertaining than we were a decade ago.

        All the more reason to lament the failure to actually win more games when we have those players available because, sure as day follows night, we will at some point have a lower standard of player to choose from.

        I don’t expect Scotland to beat Ireland, South Africa or New Zealand when they are at their best but the truth is we played 5 teams this tournament and only one of them (Italy) were anywhere near as good as they can be and we could only muster 2 wins from those 5 games.

        And don’t you want to see Scotland actually fulfil their potential as a winning team? The prospect of winning is what drives elite sport, so it seems strange to accept losing games we should win.

        Maybe I’m wrong; maybe our players are just not that good but, actually, I do believe in these players. I think they are exceptional in some cases but I also think they are being utterly failed by a head coach who does not understand how to lead elite sportsmen and who has consistently failed to deliver performances that are greater than the sum of the parts available to him.

        3
        1
  19. Christie and MacDowall look real finds.
    I’d have picked Ritchie on the openside for Ireland. Darge is a great athlete but he gets blown away against a team like Ireland.

    2
    9
  20. Grades were exaggerated last week and too harsh this week.
    Christie cemented his place in the back row. He was outstanding I thought. McDowell was excellent also.

    18

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful in your replies. Abusive language is automatically blocked. Your email address will not be published.


*