Scotland v Samoa – Player ratings

Image: © Craig Watson -

15. Stuart Hogg – 7 out of 10

A try after 1min 32secs suggested that this might be another bravura afternoon, but precious few moments thereafter to shine. His miss pass was crucial in the creation of Scotland’s second try. Always alert – always a threat – constantly pushing the tempo –  some siege gun kicks. Came close to lighting up the match in 54th minute when he launched a run out of defence, but was pulled back for a Scottish obstruction. Was Scotand’s second top carrier with 57 metres.

14. Tommy Seymour – 6

His hack ahead set up the first try.  Had a good tackle in the first half and held onto the ball well a few time when surrounded by Samoans with no other option but to take contact. Nine touches, one kick, two passes, six runs for a total of 14 metres made sums up his afternoon. Gregor Townsend must have felt this was a bit like owning a shiny, new, high-end sports car, but not being able to open the garage door. Replaced by Harris in 58th minute, struggling with a toe injury..

13. Huw Jones – 7

A real threat every time he got the ball – unbelievably quick feet. Having had to check his run to collect the pass which set up his 35th minute try, he then showed pace, balance and strength to get past three defenders and over the line. With 95 metres made was the top carrier in the match, but maybe not quite as authoritative in defence.

12. Alex Dunbar– 6

Showed incredible power to get over in 65th minute for what we hoped would be the try which finally killed of Samoan’s resistance, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Great hands on a couple of occasions.

11.  Lee Jones – 6

High work-rate without really getting much reward, but proved that he is a well-rounded enough player to be a regular feature in the Scotland squad – even when the likes of Sean Maitland are back in the mix. Did well in the build-up to Dunbar’s try.

10. Finn Russell – 6

His well-weighted grubber precipitated Hogg’s try, and caused a few problems on the odd occasions he tried to test the Samoans with ball in hand, but did not get enough possession on the front foot to really boss this game like we know he can. Only missed one (very difficult) goal kick.

9.  Ali Price – 6

Set the tempo Gregor Townsend was clearly looking for – yet mixed it up well with a couple of outstanding box kicks just when they were needed. Replaced by Pyrgos in 65th minute.

1. Darryl Marfo – 7

We’re not much further forward on whether he’s got what it takes to be an international prop.  Any fun and games at scrum time seemed to be on the opposite side. He was up against a loose-head filling in as a tight-head on his international debut, but we can’t hold that against him. He looked technically sound, did everything asked of him and had two great turnovers early on. A leap of faith beckons next week. Replaced by Bhatti in the 58th minute.

2. Stuart McInally – 8

Constantly looking to speed the game up with quickly taken line-outs. Tried manfully to make up for the lack of serious ball carriers in the back five of the scrum; but it was in the tight where he really profited. Grabbed his first two international tries either side of half-time after a couple of close-range driven line-outs. Replaced by Turner in 58th minute. Was named as official man-of-the-match.

3. WP Nel – 5

Gave away a penalty in the first scrum for wheeling, although was perhaps a bit harshly treated there. Put himself about a bit without making a huge impact when Scotland had the ball. In defence, he spent a lot of time hanging around in midfield looking like he wanted to make a tackle, but bounced off a couple of Samoans and there wasn’t many dominant hits. Came off with an arm injury in the 31st minute.

4. Ben Toolis – 7

Excellent line speed and big hit in the middle of the park earned the penalty which launched the counter which led to Hogg’s disallowed try in 18mins. Industrious and athletic before running out of steam in the second half. Does he have the really hard edge required to be a top drawer international second-row? Replaced by Swinson in the 70th minute.

5. Jonny Gray – 5

Made a 11 tackles, which doesn’t quite match some of the crazy stats from last season, but puts him ahead of all his team-mates apart from Watson. With a relatively lightweight Scottish pack, it was important that the big hitters that were there make their presence felt – but he struggled to impose himself.

6. John Barclay – 5

Couldn’t quite force himself into the game although he did take some good line-out ball before being replaced by Du Preez in the 58th minute.

7. Hamish Watson – 7

Top tackler with 12 and no misses. A couple of great steals, including one on his own line which derailed the Samoan pack as they powered towards what looked like being their third try just before the hour mark. Top carrier among the Scottish forwards with 30 hard metres gained.

8. Ryan Wilson – 6

Grafted relentlessly but struggled to assert himself. A lack of a big beast in the back-row is a concern.

Replacements – 

16. George Turner – 5

17. Jamie Bhatti – 5

18. Zander Fagerson – 7

Direct and feisty. Must start next week against New Zealand when there will be no room for passengers.

19. Tim Swinson – 5

20. Cornell Du Preez – 6

Some nice handling, including the deft pass back inside which set-up Horne’s try.

21. Henry Pyrgos – 5

22. Peter Horne – 7

Cross-field kick with first touch set up Dunbar’s try (albeit via a fortuitous Samoan fumble). Then went one better when breaking from a crowded midfield to score himself. Evidence that there is perhaps credible back-up to Russell in the chief playmaker role after all.

23. Chris Harris – 5


About David Barnes 3908 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.