Scotland v Wales: Scotland player ratings

Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray stand-out as Scotland call short in quest to make it two from two at the start of this Six Nations campaign

Jonny Gray carries the ball for Scotland against Wales. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Jonny Gray carries the ball for Scotland against Wales. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

15. Stuart Hogg – 9

Secure at the back, explosive on the ball, remarkable self-assurance, and could not have given more to the cause. Leigh Halfpenny (6) looked pedestrian in comparison. Stamped his authority all over the game, and must surely now be in the frame to captain the Lions, though not everybody would agree with his decision not to go for goal when down to 14 men.

14. Darcy Graham – 7

Bounced confidently back into the squad and held his own against Liam Williams (7). Brave on one side of the ball, electric on the other, though he could maybe have chased the game more. Not clear whether his try was a planned move or off the cuff, but he took it brilliantly. Curious stratagem pulling him for WP Nel when Zander Fagerson got his red card.

13. Chris Harris – 7

Another mature effort from the much under-rated centre. Aggressive ball-in-hand and a couple of big tackles, but cruelly exposed when Gregor Townsend opted to play with only six backs after Fagerson’s card. Nothing to choose between him and Owen Watkin (7) though Watkin was massively at fault for Stuart Hogg’s second try.

12. James Lang – 6

Did not look out of place whenever he got into the game, with a couple of strong carries and solid enough in defence. Much of a muchness with Nick Tompkins (6).

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 7

Always a physical threat and very comfortable in the heavy traffic, but found Lewis Rees-Zemmit (9) something of a handful.


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10. Finn Russell – 8

His kicking was maybe not always quite as accurate as he would want but nothing wrong with its range, or his distribution. Converted Stuart Hogg’s try from the touch-line on his wrong side, and saw Dan Biggar (6) off after 50 minutes.

9. Ali Price – 7

Effective link, and kicked clever overall, showing fantastic vision with the chip that made Darcy Graham’s try. One wayward kick at the end when Scotland really needed to hold onto possession, but the cold and exhaustion were perhaps a factor there. All square with Gareth Davies (7).

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1. Rory Sutherland – 7

Scrummaging was fine and no real problem with Tomas Francis (6) but discipline let him down badly, particularly the two needless penalties in the build-up to the first Welsh try.

2. George Turner – 6

Struggled with his darts early on but kept his cool and sorted the problem. Solid in the scrum and characteristically rumbustious in the loose. More than held his own against the vastly experienced Ken Owens (6) who did not have his own problems to seek at the line-out.

3. Zander Fagerson – 5

Hard done by for his red card, but after Peter O’Mahoney’s experience last week he should not have given Matthew Carley the chance to make a name for himself. Penalised at the first scrum but thereafter generally had Wyn Jones (7) on the back foot, and put in a fair shift around the park.

4. Scott Cummings – 6

Quieter game than we have come to expect, and on the wrong end of another dubious decision by Mr Carley when he was held to have run interference for Gary Gray’s ‘try’. His opposite number Adam Beard (7) caught the eye with some good work both at line-out and in open play.

5. Jonny Gray – 9

Delivered exactly what it says on the tin: scrummed hard, dominated the line-out, worked hard all over the field, hitting rucks, tackling and some great carries. A genuine old style second-row, and by comparison Alun Wyn Jones (7) was at times beginning to look his age.

6. Blade Thomson – N/A

Concussed early and not out there long enough for a rating.

7. Hamish Watson – 9

Confronted by another world class openside flanker, his duel with Justin Tipuric (9) was riveting and ended honours drawn. Many memorable features to their clash, but maybe the highlight was an astounding choke tackle by Watson midway through the first half. Phenomenal overall performance.

8. Matt Fagerson – 8

Needless penalty in the third minute set the early tone in Wales’ favour, but came back to make a strong contribution. Powerful on the ball, hard working off it, never took a backward step, and kept Taulupe Faletau (8) very much in check.

 

Replacements

16. Dave Cherry – 6

The game was gone by the time he came on, but he competed enthusiastically whilst he was there.

17. Oli Kebble – 5

Another late arrival who did not have much opportunity to contribute, but did pick up a black mark for having the ball ripped from his possession the only time he had it in his hands.

18. WP Nel – 7

Three huge scrums when he came on to replace Darcy Graham.

19. Richie Gray – 6

A surprising substitution for Gary Graham with Scott Cummings moving to the back row, just after Zander Fagerson picked up his red card. Put himself about as much as he could in the time he had available.

20. Gary Graham – 6

An early replacement for Blade Thomson and worked hard to make an impact, but never quite got there, though he held his own against Aaron Wainwright (7), and was unlucky to have his ‘try’ disallowed when Scott Cummings was adjudged to have obstructed Louis Rees-Zemmit. Was replaced by Richie Gray with 24 minutes to go.

21. Scott Steele – N/A

Didn’t get on.

22.  Jaco van der Walt – N/A

Didn’t get on.

23. Huw Jones – 6

Another cameo appearance but looked eager.


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13 Comments

  1. Feel you’ve been a bit kind to a couple players here. Lang was defensively solid but limited going forward (he butchered a try scoring opportunity on the right wing, in the welsh 22 early in the second half) I’d give him a 5.5 or 6/10

    Russell had moments of magic again but we are not utilising him enough. Playing for Racing 92 he is essential and the ball is in his hands most phases it we seem to play much more through 9 and only give the ball to Russell when looking for a ‘big play’. Scotland’s offensive efficiency has been poor this tournament so far and the attacking structure (and Russell to an extent) needs to shoulder some blame for the loss. He gets a 7/10 in my books.

    Gary Graham proved he just isn’t international class. Carried well but his indiscipline cost Scotland the win and his lack of work/effectiveness at securing ball at the breakdown saw Wales take control around the 50th-minute Mark. 5 penalties and a disallowed try from Graham? (If Ritchie was fit, Scotland would ah ESPN comfortably from being 17-3 up) He gets no more than a 3/10 from me.

    Zander Fagerson got rightfully pinged for his far to casual, trundling clear-out techniques. Turner’s line out struggles looked to be caused by the loss of Thomson (and with it our 3rd line out option) Cummings has still been good, but overshadowed by Gray the last 2 games. If Cummings can be at his best and Jonny Gray keeps up this form they will be a fearsome partnership. (Richie Gray also deserves credit for his brilliant return to form)

    Going into France I’d love to the two Sams called up (Hidalgo-Clyde and Johnson) Lang was fine but Duncan Taylor or Sam Johnson would be considerably improvements.
    And Hidalgo-Clyne would offer a brilliant second option to price. Gregor seems to have little faith in Steele. SHC would have provided some much helpful zip off the bench for the final 10 minutes where we were chasing the game yesterday.

    • if Fagerson had trundled casually in, I doubt we would be having this conversation. He went in at pace and with force which is why there was no mitigation for Jones head coming down just as he was hit – Fagerson has to be aware (duty of care) and react if possible, and its not possible at that pace.

      • I think you’ve misunderstood what I meant by ‘casually’. We are in agreement. Zander hasn’t shown an awareness of player safety as he comes in at pace (therefore he has been too casual with his approach to player safety and personal discipline)

  2. Why oh why, after a team discussion, did they not take the 3 points penalty 20 minutes before the end. At 20-20 they had their tails up, and might easily have got back into the Wales 22 for another try-scoring opportunity or penalty.

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    • I don’t understand. From that series of scrums Hogg scored a converted try to go 24-20 up. That’s better than taking the 3 points. Just a shame we couldn’t see it out from there.

  3. Ratings seem fair though I didn’t think either the decision to card Fagerson or disallowing ‘Gary Gray’s’ try were harsh. Fageraon came steaming in from distance and was horizontal when he caught Jones’ head. Those are exactly the sort of torpedo clearances we need removed from the game.

  4. No excuse from Zander Farguson for red card, almost exact copy from Wales no Ireland game. I felt Lang hardly seen. Overall discipline cost the game.

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    • sorry it was nothing like O’Mahoney targetting a player’s head with his elbow, a player lying away from the ruck not in any way playing or pressuring the ball.
      Fagerson is trying to clear an active player, but it is red if he hits the head, if he didn’t it isn’t. Ref thinks he did so he’s off, which is fair enough. There was never ever any doubt about what O’Mahoney did, and it was nothing to do with clearing a ruck

  5. Agree the try was correctly disallowed – though fairly similar to the Cian Healy try against us in the Autumn which the same ref allowed. Cracking test match so the high marks even in defeat are justified. Great to see Darcy Graham back.

    As for Hogg’s decision not to go for goal, we scored a try off it so was surely the right one.

  6. Can’t agree with the disallowed try comment. If Cummings had the ball it was a certain try – and I thought he did have it. GG was behind Cummings so it was crossing

    Price was much better than last week but why did he kick the ball away in the final few mins? We had to keep possession then

    I thought Turner had another good game. Line out malfunctioned somewhat but another solid performance

    • It looked like Dammit Zammit tackled Cummings (without the ball) pushing him infront of Graham. If not a try certainly a penalty to Scotland?

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