Scotland v New Zealand – Player ratings

Image: © Craig Watson -

15.   Stuart Hogg – 9 out of 10

Outstanding. Missed out on the opportunity to have a go at New Zealand during the summer when a cracked cheekbone curtailed his Lions tour, but made up for lost time here with a towering performance which combined ferocious pace, a side-step like a shaft of lightening, a right boot like a thunder-bolt, self-assuredness under the high ball, bravery in the tackle and, crucially, the maturity to make the right decisions at the right time. Scotland made good use of him at second receiver, where he showed he can also bring others into play as well as do some damage himself.

14. Tommy Seymour – 6

Not a great start with several errors. Fumbled an All Blacks clearance as he tried to collect on the touch-line which let them off the hook after an early Scottish onslaught, conceded a scrum-five for touching the ball as it bounced back over his own line and gave away a penalty for flopping over the ball at a ruck – but he did rise majestically to take a tricky restart after Russell’s missed first-half penalty, which was important given the calamities of last week. Found himself outnumbered in the lead up to New Zealand’s first try, hesitated and ended up getting fleeced on the outside. Kept plugging away and played an important role in setting up Scotland’s second try.

13. Huw Jones – 7

Missed a golden opportunity to give Scotland the best possible start when he couldn’t quite hold onto the ball when Scotland had numbers over on the right, but a constant threat. Grabbed Scotland’s second try which pulled them right back into it and set up that thrilling finale.

12. Alex Dunbar – 7

After a lacklustre defensive performance last week, Scottish line-speed in this match was phenomenal and really put the world’s best under pressure, with their inside centre and defensive leader setting the tone. Made a lot of good, hard yards up the middle of the park.

11. Lee Jones – 7

His ducking and weaving with the ball was a real nuisance to the All Blacks. Didn’t get many opportunities away from the heavy traffic, but is a smart enough player to make the most of any possession he does get. His work-rate, intelligence and determination to make the absolute most of himself sets him apart from his rivals for the number 11 jersey – including Tim Visser, who is not currently part of the Scotland set-up.

10. Finn Russell – 8

A nightmare to play against when he is in this sort of mood. Mistakes will happen but there is absolutely no scope for the opposition to relax. Came close to intercepting Aaron Smith early on for what would have been a straight forward run-in, but ended up knocking on. Did manage to make an important interception of Codie Taylor in the second half which saved a near certain try and, ultimately, inspired Scotland’s rousing finale. Shame he missed his drop-goal attempt at the end of the first-half, and frustrating that he didn’t have a go at it from slightly closer in a few minutes earlier.

9. Ali Price – 7

His kicking game wasn’t always on the money this week – although one or two were spot-on – and he maybe needs to put a bit more focus on the primary function of getting good ball to Russell as quickly as possible. But he is a threat in his own right and you wouldn’t want him to give up that aspect of his game.

1. Darryl Marfo – 8

Great over the ball and some fine carries. In his moment of reckoning, he survived a pressure New Zealand scrum on his own line six minutes before half-time. He has come from nowhere but is doing a pretty good job of looking like he belongs in the Scotland set-up.

2, Stuart McInally – 8

Scotland’s top tackler. He has waited so long for this chance and now that it has arrived he is certainly making the most of it with another busy performance in the middle of front-row. Then, just when he was starting to think about getting a well-earned rest, he was switched to back-row during the final half hour.

3. Zander Fagerson – 7

Several powerful carries and works extremely hard off the ball. Struggled a bit at scrum time. Came off just before half-time with a head knock.

4. Ben Toolis – 7

Big, athletic, hard-working and a really useful line-out option – he is one of several players getting an extended run in the team due to injuries, and using the opportunity to make a very strong case for becoming a permanent fixture.

5. Jonny Gray – 7

Took on more responsibility at line-out and collected some good ball. Battled over for Scotland’s first try and got through a power of work around the edges of rucks. He might not be the most explosive player in the world but his general pace never drops, no matter how many yards of the field he has covered.

6. John Barclay – 8

Led by no-nonsense example. Made New Zealand battle for the recycle after every tackle. Gave away three points when he pushed his luck a tad too far just before the break, but generally tip-toed along the line of legality like the pro he is. Far more effective this week than he was against Samoa when the game seemed to pass him by. A very useful line-out option.

7. Hamish Watson – 7

Mugged possession from Luke Romano to provide the Scots with an important early confidence boost, and was shaping up to be a key figure until departure with a back injury in the 27th minute, which was compounded by his replacement Luke Hamilton also getting hurt 20 minutes later – meaning that there was a lack of fresh firepower to come off the bench in the final quarter, which makes the home team’s late charge for glory all the more impressive.

8. Cornell du Preez – 8

Disappointing early fumble when Hogg sent him clear on the left, but made amends with some deft handling under pressure in the lead-up to Russell’s early penalty. A huge shift battling away in the tight exchanges.

– Replacements – 

16. George Turner – 6

What a battler. It is not fair, but size is always going to be against him. McInally reverted back to the front-row when New Zealand started to turn the scrum screw.

17. Jamie Bhatti – 6

18. Simon Berghan – 6

It is astonishing that for over half of this match Scotland played without a front-row player who would have been ranked higher than third choice at the start of the season. Not surprisingly, the scrum did begin to struggle.

19. Grant Gilchrist – 7

Did well in the short time he had, to deliver a reminder that Scotland have a number of options in the engine-room.

20. Luke Hamilton – 8

A number of impressive carries after replacing Watson on 27 minutes before an ankle injury curtailed his own very promising debut in the 50th minute.

21. Henry Pyrgos – 6

22. Pete Horne – 6

Lost track of Sonny Bill Williams in lead-up to Barrett’s try but had a couple of useful involvements with the ball in hand.

23. Byron McGuigan – 6

About David Barnes 3818 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.