Scotland v Australia: Scotland player ratings

Scotland stand-off Finn Russell offloads against Australia. Image: Craig Watson© -
Scotland stand-off Finn Russell offloads against Australia. Image: Craig Watson© -

15. Stuart Hogg – 7

Didn’t really click in attack for the talismanic skipper and he perhaps tried too hard at times. He also had a few wobbly moments in defence. But he kept looking for ways to make things happen for his team and will always worry the opposition every time he gets the ball.


14. Darcy Graham – 7

Desperate to get involved during frantic opening. Sprinted 30-yards to take a quick tap but couldn’t quite get away, which summed up his afternoon, really. Was lucky that Len Ikitau couldn’t quite keep his feet with the try-line at his mercy after intercepting the winger’s slack pass. An excellent tidy-up on the opposite wing following James O’Connor’s clever kick on the half-hour mark demonstrated once again that this pocket dynamo is much more than just an attacking force.

13. Chris Harris – 8

Not too many opportunities with the ball in hand but tidy enough when called upon. His tackling and work over the ball was – as ever – heroic. So, a key man given that defence was key to this success.

12. Sam Johnson – 8

A huge collision with Australia’s replacement tight-head Taniela Tupou left the 21 stone hulk badly dazed. Not nice to see but demonstrated just how hard this guy runs when given a chance. The structure of the game could have done with a few more of his direct interventions in midfield. Good break on the loop after Australia’s try and solid in defence.

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 7

The game’s top carrier, so clearly had a couple of decent gallops, without quite managing to shake off the shackles. He’s now a ‘weel kent face’ to defences, but has developed his game to ensure that he remains a handful.

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Scotland v Australia reaction: Ewan Ashman hits the ground running

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10. Finn Russell – 7

An early clearance was charged down by the giant Rory Arnold, but generally smart and accurate kicking from hand, and his five points from the tee – including a touchline conversion of Hamish Watson’s try – ultimately proved the difference. Constantly looking to make things happen with his trademark cute touches, and most of those moves came off, but struggled to really impose himself on the game like he can when at his scintillating best.

9. Ali Price – 7

Ran some great support lines but Scotland would perhaps have benefitted from their vice-captain imposing himself a bit more tactically when things were just a bit too harum-scarum.


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1. Pierre Schoeman – 8

A big performance in the tight and loose. Could easily have been man-of-the-match. British an LG Irish Lion Rory Sutherland knows now – if he didn’t before – that he is in a fight for that dark blue No 1 jersey when fit again. Provided the killer pass for Ashman’s superb try.

2. George Turner – 5

One early chance to make an impact with ball in hand came to nothing due to a forward pass decision from referee Romain Poite, then picked up a rib injury which brought a premature end to his match with just 11 minutes played.

3. Zander Fagerson – 8

Won his team a valuable set-piece penalty early on and had the vastly experienced James Slipper in bother for most of the match, with the scrum setting the tone. Silly penalty at the start of the second half contributed to the Scots being under pressure during that period, and ultimately conceding Australia’s only try, but he is now established as a world class anchor.

4. Sam Skinner – 7

Gave away an early penalty for coming in from the side but James O’Connor miscued his shot at goal. Caught out slightly with Rob Leota’s try but, in fairness, he was scurrying to get into position after a big scrum effort. Showed an interesting bit of leadership when he stepped in to instruct his team-mates to take the scrum after a penalty conceded by Australia when they were down to two loose-heads and pinned back on their own line.

5. Grant Gilchrist – 7

Really fronted up with a relentless performance. The absence of first choice locks Jonny Gay and Scott Cummings was hardly noticed.

6. Jamie Ritchie – 7

Useful line-out option, which helped circumnavigate Australia’s giant second-row, including his his take in the middle during the creation of Watson’s well-worked opening try. Huge work-rate – as always. His clenched-fist, howling to the skies celebrations of every try, scrum penalty, turnover etc for Scotland are becoming iconic.

7. Hamish Watson – 8

Official man-of-the-match. Won a crucial penalty jackaling the ball right underneath his own posts when it was still scoreless with 18 minutes played. Scored Scotland’s first try four minutes later and was the game’s top tackler with 14 overall.

8. Matt Fagerson – 7

Gave away the ruck penalty which allowed James O’Connor to get Australia off the mark just before half-time. Will be frustrated that he lost control of the ball as Scotland attacked the line soon after Leota’s try, but put in a lot of work carrying the hard yards, and worked just as hard the other side of the ball.



16. Ewan Ashman – 8

A debut to remember after getting thrown into the fray far earlier than he would have anticipated following George Turner’s 11th minute injury. Part of a dominant scrum, line-out darts were on the money, generally showed up well in the loose, and superb finish for his try.

17. Jamie Bhatti – 6

It’s ancient history now, but how can both Scotland’s two pro teams – funded by the national team’s income – have both been allowed to let this guy’s career tableau during the last two years. We don’t have enough big, bad props to be that slack.

18. Oli Kebble – 6

Picked up a scrum penalty soon after coming on at tight-head, but was implicated in a penalty against for standing up under pressure with five minutes to go, handing Australia entry into Scotland’s 22 which could have been costly on another day (remember it is the Springboks next week!).

19. Jamie Hodgson – 7

Helped hold up Kurtley Beale to win a scrum which slowed Australia’s attempts to build late momentum.

20. Josh Bayliss – 7

Came on with just under five minutes to go, and ran like a man possessed, infusing his team with valuable energy. Won a huge turnover to launch a late counter which helped Scotland see out the final few minutes in relative comfort.

21. George Horne – 5

The men queuing up inside may have been a better option instead of going himself in that late charge from deep described above, but, no matter, because the move got Scotland to the right end of the park to fairly comfortably see out what could have been a tense final few minutes.

22. Adam Hastings – 6

Came on for Sam Johnson with seven minutes to go and played stand-off with Finn Russel shifting to inside centre.

23. Kyle Steyn  – 7

Replaced Darcy Graham on the hour mark. Great turnover soon after coming on, but also gave away a holding-on penalty.

Scotland v Australia reaction: Ewan Ashman hits the ground running

About David Barnes 3386 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.


  1. Great win thanks to the pack and some excellent and committed defence. Impressed by Ashman whose superb finish for his try effectively won the game. He has to be our long term first choice hooker and needs to start. Septic 9’s point about Harris is pertinent. For all the talent in our backs something is missing, the combination just does not gell. Like Septic I suspect in attack Harris is the problem. I would drop Graham and select Huw Jones instead. Then when we have the ball / put in I would have Jones at outside centre with Harris on the wing. However when defending I would switch Harris to outside centre and move Jones to wing. In this way we can accommodate both our most effective attacking back (after Hogg) and our best defensive three-quarter. Finally I think we need to find a No 8 as I am not convinced by Fagerson who seems to lack the power needed and whom I feel would be more effective playing on the flank.

  2. I feel the wide use of 7s perhaps undervalues the work done by our boiler house providing a strong platform on the touch line and scrum while also getting around the paddock as willing carriers. It’ll be a risk to tinker in this area if it reduces our line out options in perhaps SA’s strongest launchpad.

  3. Fagerson was pretty lucky that the TMO didn’t have a close look at his hand on Hooper’s face following the latter’s disallowed try and may still rue that recklessness if cited so I’d knock a point off for that, he got away with it during the game but it’s a side of his game he needs to boot. Other than think the ratings are fair.

  4. At long last we are blessed with world class players and a real collective of a team so beating Australia when not firing on all cylinders speaks volumes for our grit and determination. A game we would probably have lost a few years ago and the team effort was more important than individual scores. Nice problem for GT re team to face SA and the competition for places is hotting up.

  5. felt both Hogg and Graham were well below their best ball in hand and blind alleys come to mind.
    Harris still an enigma. Key to the defence, and key to our attack hitting the buffers

    • I think some credit here needs to go the Aussies for their defence and why we couldnt get things going. Matt Taylor will have analysed the life out of our shape in the past and Dave Rennie knows these boys attacking games better than any coach outside of Scotland. I think its also worth pointing out that the new 50/22 rule is having an impact. Its supposed to open us space in midfield but your back 3 are spending more time in the backfield and have further to return the ball.

  6. Not sure about the average 7 across the board, I am a Hogg supporter but didn’t think he contributed to the same extent as the other 7’s. We need to find full back cover anyway please lets try some new blood throughout the team against SA and Japan, we need to find out about them for the next 6 nations as we don’t want to spoil our resurgence from last years efforts

    • Whilst agree re 7 can be improved on, that the scores so equal reflects that it was a team performance & that should never be knocked

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