Scotland v Argentina: Scotland player ratings

Finn Russell and Darcy Graham star as Scotland need their Autumn on a high

Sione Tuipulotu was once of the big success stories from Scotland's win over Argentina. Image: Craig Watson -
Sione Tuipulotu was once of the big success stories from Scotland's win over Argentina. Image: Craig Watson -

15. Stuart Hogg – 8

A class act at the top of his game. Constantly involved and always a threat, took his try well, and rock solid in defence. Believe it or not, there’s still some clowns out there who doubt his value to the team. [Juan Cruz Mallia 7] 


14. Darcy Graham – 9

A bundle of energy, lobbing hand grenades all over the park. Rewarded with a hat-trick of tries, none of which were straightforward. Is there a more effective winger in world rugby at the moment? [Bautista Delguy 6]

13. Chris Harris – 6

Graham saved his blushes early on, salvaging a try after he had burnt a golden opportunity, and he fumbled the ball in contact after a Graham-Hogg break-out later in the half, but otherwise he did what he is there to do. Nothing flash, the catalyst holding shape and space, which allows others to play, and at the same time keeping the back-door firmly shut.

[Matias Orlando 7]

12. Sione Tuipulotu – 8

Outstanding in both attack and defence. His straight running created vital momentum, and looked the ideal close-quarter bludgeon for Russell’a armoury. Great first try, showing extraordinary strength and tremendous skill, but picked up a needless yellow card in injury time. [Jeronimo de la Fuente 7] 

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 8

Strong, powerful and increasingly confident throughout this Autumn series. Always looking for work, solid in defence, a threat chasing kicks, safe receiving them, and took his try well.

[Emiliano Boffelli 7] 

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10. Finn Russell – 9

This is Finn’s world, the rest of us just live here. Well deserved official man-of-the-match. Magic hands, a trusty boot, terrific vision, and fully exploited the surprising space Argentina afforded him. Another master-class in the art of international rugby … a month after he was not considered good enough to be in the squad. [Santiago Carreras 7] 

9. Ali Price – 7

Not an easy game, but an effective link and a cool head, before being replaced by Ben White on 53 minutes. [Gonzalo Bertranou 7]            

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1. Pierre Schoeman – 7

Had to work hard in the early scrums, but battled his way through it, and won an important penalty close to Scotland’s line early in the second half. Carried enthusiastically (although he had one bad fumble in contact just after the half hour) and weighed in heavily to the defensive mauls. [Thomas Gallo 7]

2. Fraser Brown – 6

Lively, with a good carry during lead-up to Tuipulotu’s second try, but will be disappointed to have missed his man at three consecutive line-outs.  [Julian Montoya 6] 

3. Zander Fagerson – 6

His work in the loose is phenomenal, including 10 tackles and the scrum held up after a rough start. Incredibly durable but good to see up-and-coming Murphy Walker get the last 15 minutes because tight-head is a position where depth is key. [Eduardo Bello 6] 

4. Jonny Gray – 7

Top tackler with 16 but otherwise  a disappointing game. Penalised straight from the kick-off which gave Argentina the sort of early ‘in’ which could be very costly on another day, problems at the line-out, and fairly quiet throughout, particularly when Argentina were down to twelve men. [Matias Alemanno 5] 

5. Grant Gilchrist – 6

Showed up well early doors, notably with a thundering carry in the lead-up to Graham’s first try, but disappeared just when he should have been stepping up to the plate to capitalise on both Argentinian second-rows being in the bin. [Matias Lavanini 5] 

6. Matt Fagerson – 7

Underlined his importance to the squad by being just as effective at blindside as he is at No 8. Yet another big shift both sides of the ball.  [Juan Martin Gonzalez 7] 

7. Jamie Ritchie – 6

A born warrior but struggled to assert himself, then fell into the trap of engaging with the Argentinians in a bout of ‘hand-bags’. [Marcos Kremer 3] 

8. Jack Dempsey – 6

Looked the part until he decided to play basketball, just when the Argentinians were reduced to twelve men, when it was clearly time to focus on basics and take advantage of the numerical superiority.. [Pablo Matera 7] 


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16. George Turner – 6

Gregor Townsend said at the team announcement that he was looking for a bench impact and this Glasgow Warrior always give his all.

17. Jamie Bhatti – 6

Announced his arrival with a thundering carry.

18. Murphy Walker – 6

Just two appearances for Glasgow Warriors (one start and one off the bench for a total of 69 minutes) before this Autumn Series. Now a capped international and needs more regular game-time at club level if its in the national interest, until such time as the pro teams wash their own faces financially.

19. Glen Young – 5

Didn’t really have a chance to impact the game in six minutes as a replacement for Gilchrist.

20. Andy Christie – 6

Replaced Jack Dempsey just before the hour mark and won a good ruck turnover.

21. Ben White – 6

Provided energy off the bench as he has done whenever asked to do so by Scotland, but could do with a few more starts.

22. Blair Kinghorn – 6

Laid on the pass that sent his pal Darcy Graham in for his hat-trick. A great utility option for this upcoming World Cup year.

23. Cameron Redpath – 6

Held up over the line once, but bounced back to score his team’s sixth try.

Scotland v Argentina reaction: Townsend pays tribute to Russell’s all-round game

About David Barnes 3991 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.


  1. Excellent performances by Scotland over last two tests but serious failings by forwards to score when camped on opposition try line .Can’t understand why quick ball is not moved out to backline

  2. Did Los Pumas field any residence-qualified players? Or were they all genuine Argentinians?

    I rest my case.

  3. I was heartened by that display at the weekend. Some blunders that drove me crazy but overall you have to be happy with putting 50+ on the 6th ranked team.

    Yes they were down men, yes we let a runaway try over when they had 12. But I loved our attacking shape and play.

    All I want for Christmas is a consistent Finn Russell that turned up at the weekend and that starting 15 to be given more game time together. Imagine of we had them all playing at home under our own union…if only there was a close neighbour who did that as evidence of how well it works when you ringfence your players because you value them so much!

  4. All good fun but think Bear strikes the balance. An ex Scottish football manager once said to me – two Scots would come out of an art gallery arguing about which was the worse painting…

  5. Re Ritchie as captain and back row in general I’m not convinced he should even be in the team as he hasn’t done much of note in the 4 games.Unfortunately we seem to be in a position where we have a number of players with similar r attributes none of whom are firing on all cylinders or are injured. Clearly it’s horses for courses but I would like to see a back row of Darge Crosbie and Dempsey but that will probably never happen.

  6. The level of criticism Hogg comes in for is astonishing. I wont repeat what ive already said on here before but SussexScot sums it up perfectly on this thread, well said sir. Hoggy is a Scottish rugby legend and one of the best and most exciting players we have ever produced

    • Which does not make him immune from the very fair criticism of his defensive abilities or his tendency to overplay, resulting in the question of whether he is the right fit for the team.

      Offensively, he was very good on Saturday, largely because he recognised he has players around him who can also play. That may have something to do with Russell’s presence or him not being captain or something else entirely. Although, defensively, I thought he was still caught out a few times, for example he seemed very slow to recognise that Duhan needed support when he was forced to ground the ball in goal. I thought he could have got across to take a pass and kick clear.

      If he continues to play like that we don’t have anyone better. But, let’s be fair, performances like Saturday’s have been few and far between lately. And let’s also recognise that playing a 15 whose defensive instincts can be questionable (alongside a winger that can’t kick) means that compromises, such as playing a more defensive oriented 13, may have to be made elsewhere.

      I do think some of the language used is OTT at times but I also think it is a bit rich for him to complain about criticism when he seems hell bent on drawing attention to himself.

    • Hogg had dipped below his best, possibly because of a longstanding leg injury, and I don’t believe he was a good choice as captain, but Russell’s return and leg surgery has helped bring him back with a bang and he’s one of the players who will sell tickets for Murrayfield. Ideally, his timing and execution of passes would be a little better (and the man bun would go).

  7. Unseen work might be good, but actually having ‘seen’ work too would be good.

    Scotlands line outs and kick off recipts, both generally the bread and butter of 2nd rows, have been poor for years. And especially as he meant to be the called of lineouts, has to shoulder reaponsibility for its failings (case in point when R.Gray comes in and it improves massively).

    Offers zero breakdown threat (unlike a Bierne or Itoje), not a big / dynamic runner (Etezebeth and the ilk). Makes his tackles yes, but constantly out tackled by a limited J.Gray so wouldn’t say he’s outstanding there either or particularly dynamic (e.g. Woki / Ryan).

    He’s a workhorse and great servant to Scottish rugby, but a limited player compared to other nations if you compare.

    There are 2nd rows for Scotland that offer more than hitting rucks and soft tackles imo. And certainly not deserving of PotY compared to Graham / M.Fagerson etc.

    Hopefully he develops and proves me wrong, but youth isn’t on his side!

    • we have 2 very good locks, Cummings and Skinner, both currently injured. Who are the others who are better?

      As to lineout calling, Gilchrist was calling the lineout when Richie Gray was playing, so I assume he gets the credit for that.
      FWIW Richie Gray has never been a lineout caller until he took some responsibility this season at Glasgow

  8. Still plenty issues in that team sadly. Need more power/abrasion in the pack….still questions in the backs that need sorted….centres & 9

    Oh and Game Management & Penalty count and its the same offenders.

    Still upwards & onwards…..

  9. Our lineout has been a problem for a while, but that problem seemed to be solved by the presence of Ritchie Gray. The problem returned for this match and I don’t think you can solely blame the hooker for that. Jonny Gray needs to up his game, considerably. Ok, he makes tackles, but offers little else and a fit Cummings would surely have played instead.
    Tuipulotu has been on good form and might serve the team even better at 13, at the expense of Harris. I do appreciate Harris’ defensive qualities, but his distribution is below par. A balance has to be struck between offence and defence, and I think we could do better than Harris.
    I’m still not convinced we have a decisive and calm leader on the pitch, having watched the headless chicken stuff when there were only 12 Argentinians on the pitch. There’s also a strategic weakness with our ability to camp in our opponents’ line, yet often come away with nothing. Perhaps the might be addressed by having our first choice of loose forwards, which injury has prevented.
    The new, slimline Russell is a joy to behold.
    I think George Horne deserved a game, as he’s been much improved this season, whilst Price is not at his best. White was ok.
    As ever, we have to hope for a fit squad for the 6 Nations allowing one or two changes and, longer term, a wider choice of props to back up yesterday’s starters.

    • On the lineout, we were superb against the AB’s. Ritchie Gray is a genuine tall old fashioned middle of the lineout jumper. He is your get out, takes the pressure and creates space and more time for the other jumpers, also causes the oppo trouble. No surprise then when the hooker goes from 100% to getting 3 wrong, pressure. It’s not really fair to criticise the 2nd row we had yesterday as neither is a natural middle of the lineout jumper. The opposition know this and therefore put more pressure on the front and back jumpers.

      • Is a repeated failure to retain possession not worthy of criticism? Whether it’s the players selected, or the lack of variation at the lineout, glaring weakness isn’t good enough at this level. We can do better and did with the same hooker, so we need to identify a solution. That clearly can’t be a combination of Jonny Gray and Grant Gilchrist. If it is, our opponents need merely kick the ball out, knowing their chances of regaining possession and territory are relatively high.

    • I agree with most of your comments. Harris is a problem attackingwise. Almost cost us a try first half but was rescued by Graham. Mishandled after the Hogg / Graham break out which in other games would have affected the result. A centre pairing of Redpath and Tuipuloto might be interesting. Still would like to see Huw Jnes involved somehow. I think Jonny Gray could lead the side in spite of his quiet game yesterday or perhaps try Russell although that might be a step too far for Townsend. Until Brown can throw in properly I would go with Ashman who is the future at Hooker IMO. Finally the players need to use their minds. Playing basketball when having a 3 man advantage is senseless.

  10. Slightly disapointed with Ritchie yellow card. He will learn however not to rise to the bait. Great choice of captain and leader. Although I also like gilchrist as captain. Both set good examples on and off the pitch, unlike a certain mr hogg who’s antics off the pitch are best left unspoken

    • I disagree that Ritchie is a suitable captain. Seems very easily wound up and a penalty factory for the opposition. His handling and pace are not up to international standards. Needs to improve those skills to be worth his place. The backroom inspirational speeches are best left to the coaches. Hogg’s antics off the pitch? I’m more than happy to praise his play on it and leave it at that.

  11. I saw someone commenting on the Facebook about Ritchie as captain. I think he is the correct choice, certainly better than Hogg. Allows hogg to play freely as he has shown this autumn nations. And Ritchie Much better role model on and off the pitch, if rumours are to be believed about hoggs antics.

  12. Really appreciate the Offside Lines role in Scottish rugby, especially the reporting of club rugby. I disagree with what is written sometimes and some on the informed comments but we’re all entitled to our informed opinion. Unfortunately is is now being hijacked by so called trolls who’s comments are ill informed and simply not worthy of a serious rugby platform. 🐻

    • Totally agree. Unfortunately, for the majority, our opinions are formed by what we are fed by the media, be it print or electronic journalism.
      The Townsend/Russell ‘feud’ is a case in point. How much is generated by a Sunday Times hack or equivalent looking for a headline that drives us all into a frenzy?
      Objective journalism may be a dying art but don’t we all just love a story that sends us rushing to our keyboards.

      • 100% this. I wouldn’t claim to be informed but can say pretty surely the media has been feasting on that so-called news. And, we should enjoy the positives more!

      • Listen to what GT said to the media months and then weeks ago about why Russell was left behind, and then demoted.

        GT’s body language tells it all. He talks like a west of Scotland football manager, monotome delivery of a set of cliches. Even after the All Blacks game, grumpiness outshone any enthusiasm.

      • Scottish rugby supporters opinions are formed by what they see on the pitch both in Internationals and other levels. We also observe many other countries, observe their coaches and listen to them. Many of us have been doing so for decades. Your apology is accepted.

    • Not sure that just labelling people whose opinions you don’t like as “trolls” is particularly helpful.

    • Iain I fully agree with your first point but take issue with your last. I think in relative terms this site is generally free from all the nonsense that appears in many other public sites. People have different opinions. I have no idea how they form those opinions. Interesting to hear what your definition of “informed” is. I personally have no access to the inner sanctum of the international group but equally am not interested nor influenced by the extraneous tittle tattle that is reported in the press.Like Tom Simpson above I form my opinions based on what I see on the pitch and that covers both club and international rugby. I admit I have not been a fan of the Townsend era and on balance everything that has brought so I have no doubt I fall under your definition of ill informed. Still its good to hear your thoughts as it gives some balance to what is increasingly a ground swell in favour of change.

  13. Scottish XV all docked 1 point for conceding a try by a team of XII & then by XIV in the 86th minute!
    Even during the brawl the Argentines landed more punches.

    Keeping it grounded.

    • To be fair, it was 14 v 14 for the 86th min score. A good win with some very good bits, but Argentina May have ‘won’ the period when the sides had equal numbers?
      Keep the feet on the ground, keep working to improve and good things could still happen in the coming 6 nations and WC.

  14. Just don’t get the endless flak fired at Hogg. Yes he misses some high balls and tackles. Show me a full back in the history of the game who hasn’t. Yes he’s made other mistakes on and off the pitch. Show me a player ( or a human) who hasn’t. Now look at what he can do, and has done over 80 odd caps. The tries he’s scored. The tries he’s made. The games he’s won for us. Who you gonna pick ahead of him. Kinghorn, Huw Jones? Really!! We’d be a lesser side and a less dangerous one without him. Be thankful he’s still committed to Scotland and enjoy watching a World class player. We’ll miss him once he retires

    • Excellent post Sussex Scot. The great Andy Irvine wasn’t flawless nor ,the equally wonderful Gavin Hastings. He could say the same about the legendary Ken Scotland.

  15. Totally agree his defence for an international and British Lion is woeful as he simply cannot and never has been able to tackle. Take away his blistering pace he would be a very average player so we must be in the same clown troop

    • I remember a certain full back who missed a crucial tackle on a wonderful Italian flanker. He lost a Lions place as a result. A certain Chris Paterson.

      • My abiding memory of Chris Paterson is seeing him felled by a ball in the warm up for the game against Australia, in Brisbane, in the 2003 World Cup.

  16. I must be missing something in Hogg but I still expect him to do something stupid every time he gets the ball.
    Bluntly, I find his arrogance to exceed his abilities.

    • 4th most capped Scot. Top try scorer for country, selected for 3 Lions tours and started two tests, won leagues in two countries, European Cup winner, captain of Scotland when they won away in France and England for the 1st time in forever and twice 6N player of the year.

      Easy to have a go when players are no longer at the peak of their powers but Hogg is still important to this side.

  17. I must be a clown then. Hoggs defence is still very questionable at best. Wasnt tested much yesterday but dropped a high ball and after his performance against New Zealand question marks remain.

    • Hogg isn’t perfect. Never has been. He was very good yesterday
      Youngest player on the Lions tour of 2013, then selected in next 2 tours. Selected by a very hard taskmaster who isn’t scottish
      Yet all through his career he has had some so called scottish fans on his back

      Tall poppy syndrome. from some very sad people

  18. Well, wasn’t that entertaining. A game you couldn’t take your eyes off for a second. Takeaways from the last 4 weeks. The number 10 debate is well and truly settled. Finn was sensational. White must start at 9.He moves the point of attack far better and quicker than Price. You only realise what an important player Watson is (or Darge) when they aren’t there. We have as good a back 3 as any in the world. Gilchrist gets my vote for player of the year. Consistently excellent in all aspects of forward play. Underrated and overlooked by many but a key player. Still missing Mcinally. Hope he’s fit for 6 Nations. Ashman on the bench. Most improved player this year, Matt Fagerson. Now punching his weight in every game he plays. Solid front row as long as Schoeman and Zander stay fit. Need more depth there. Richie Gray must start well ahead of his brother. Jamie Ritchie, fine player that he is, isn’t a 7. Overall real optimism going forward but will need to find a whole different level for France, Ireland etc in 6 Nations and World Cup. One last thought. Watching the Wales-Georgia game (wasn’t that enjoyable) I thought Scott Hastings’ pronunciation of some serious Georgian surnames was outstanding. Well played Scottie.

    • Not sure how you think Gilchrist is player of the year… for a man who is meant to run the lineout, been pretty naff all year until R.Gray rolled back the years. Doesn’t offer breakdown threat, makes tackles (not many dominant) and poor running threat (when you look at other international 2nd rows).

      Skinner / R.Gray / Cummings all ahead for me.

      Sadly J.Gray doesn’t seem to have progressed in years – offers very little bar tackles (of which very few are dominant also).

    • Further Takeaways – I would be pencilling in Richie Gray as first choice second row every time – he secures our line out – Hooker continues to be a problem area with none of the contenders staking a claim – I remain unconvinced about Price’s form so White must start at 9 – Back row has been disappointing over the series – definitely missing Watson and/or Darge.- No question about who is 10 and second choice should be Hastings – would concentrate on Redpath / Bennett Harris combination at centre – Back 3 must and always be VDM SH and DG
      The time has come for Townsend to stop his random bingo machine selections and experiments Kinghorn is a bench player where his versatility is valued – Scotland have a weakness in the ‘depth’ coming off the bench – this requires some work particularly the front row

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