Six Nations: Italy v Scotland: Scotland player ratings

Iain Morrison assesses individual performances during a deeply disappointing loss in Rome

Scotland dropped the ball against Italy in Rome this afternoon. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Scotland dropped the ball against Italy in Rome this afternoon. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

15. Blair Kinghorn – 7

Showed his confidence by picking up the ball off the ground with one hand in open play! Should have used Redpath early in the second half when given a 3 v 2. Passed to Duhan who was tackled into touch by Capuozzo. Small margins. [Ange Capuozzo 8]

 

14. Kyle Steyn – 8

Finished off Scotland’s second try, carrying Capuozzo over the line, having already handled earlier in the move. Continued to play well for the full 80 minutes. [Louis Lynagh 8]

13. Huw Jones – 6

Looked dangerous with the ball in hand without ever shaking off his Italian minders in the first half only to slice the Italians open on 42 minutes for George Horne’s non-try! Overall, too quiet, up against Italian excellence. [Juan Ignacio Brex 9]

12. Cam Redpath – 7

Showed all his skills, playing heads up rugby, distributing and, on occasion, dropping the ball onto his boot. Lost one ball in contact, to Monty Ioane. Sat down by Menoncello late in the first half and rooted to the spot for Varney’s try. Showed good composure in the final 10 minutes, especially in the lead up to Skinner’s try. [Tommaso Menoncello 9]

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 6

Reclaimed one of Russell’s high kicks in the first half and carried well when the opportunity arose. Probably saved a try just before the break by holding Capuozzo off the ground but was well tackled by the tiny Italian more than once and Stuart Hogg’s try scoring record remains intact. For now. [Monty Ioane 8]


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10. Finn Russell – 7

Generally excellent with the ball in hand and his decision making was spot on, in the first half, although he did overcook one kick-pass. Made a 50-22 kick on 27 minutes which led directly to Scotland’s third try courtesy of Schoeman but he lost his 100 percent record off the tee, missing that very same conversion. Was he a little lazy in the back field for Lynagh’s second half try? Ran out of ideas at the death. [Paolo Garbisi 7]

9. George Horne – 6

Tidy throughout. Thought he had scored Scotland bonus point try early in the second half only to see it wiped off. Failed to make his mark attacking around the breakdown, was he under orders not to? [Martin Page-Relo 6]

 

 

1. Pierre Schoeman – 6

The loosehead did well to score Scotland’s third try of the afternoon from a line-out drive but conceded a second half scrum penalty and failed to make much headway with the ball in hand after the break. Needless penalty saw Horne’s ‘try’ cancelled, which was a big turning point. [Danilo Fischetti 6]

2. George Turner – 6

Carried with his usual vigour but also conceded his habitual penalty early on that led, indirectly, to Italy’s opening try. Earned a turnover against Lamaro on 53 minutes and left the field injured five minutes later. [Giacomo Nicotera 4]

3. Zander Fagerson – 8

Scored a great short-range try bang on six minutes and followed it up with a superb turnover. Won another turnover with a counter ruck on 20 minutes. Carried early like an angry heffalump but faded as the match progressed and Italy’s set scrum dominated late on. [Simone Ferrari 7]

4. Grant Gilchrist – 6

Nicked an early Italian throw and was excellent at the sidelines but failed to show up in loose play. [Niccolo  Cannone 6]

5. Scott Cummings – 6

A reliable course of ball at the lineout and busy about the park without ever stamping his mark on this game. [Federico Ruzza 6]

6. Andy Christie – 8

Carried with real purpose and displayed huge aggression in defence, which is exactly why he was picked. He also made a superb interception to win a turnover just before the half hour mark. Conceded a penalty and three points when caught on the wrong side of a ruck on 33 minutes. Showed great pace at the end of the first half when coming close to a try following another interception. [Sebastian Negri 8]

7. Rory Darge – 6

A poor clear out from the flanker gifted Italy that early penalty but he got an assist for driving Fagerson over for the first try of the match. He never plays badly but can play better. [Michele Lamaro 8]

8. Jack Dempsey – 8

Busy and effective with the ball in hand. Held in the back field so he could run back Italian kicks. Continued to work hard with and without the ball throughout the second half when his colleagues were fading. [Danilo Vintcent 7]

 

 

Replacements –

16. Ewan Ashman – 6

Solid.

17. Alex Hepburn – 5

Conceded one scrum penalty.

18. Eliot Millar-Mills – 6

Arrived too late to make his mark.

19. Sam Skinner – 6

Conceded a dumb offside penalty eight minutes from time to see Italy go two scores up before scoring Scotland’s fourth try to throw his side a lifeline.

20. Jamie Richie – 7

Full of intent but too little time.

21. Matt Fagerson – 7

Very aggressive when he appeared, displaying real desire to win this game.

22. Ali Price – 5

Looked out on his feet in those final few minutes.

23. Kyle Rowe – n/a.

Did not get on.


Six Nations: Italy v Scotland reaction: Townsend defiant after Roman disaster

About Iain Morrison 142 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.

56 Comments

  1. Some really ungracious rubbish posted here by people who seem to think Scotland have a God-given right to win. Well played Italy.

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    • I get that vibe too.

      There are no easy games. Comments about the coach also when clearly, the game plan fell apart midway through the first half, though it never improved.

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      • I’m not a Townsend hater and in my opinion there won’t be many coaches out there who are without current employment and who could improve the situation however, if the game plan fell apart in the first half, as coach the riot act should have been read in the dressing room at half time, when we were still ahead. With everyone told to forget the fastest rugby stuff and tighten everything up, frustrate the opposition and counter only when we have turnover ball.

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  2. Kinghorn was particularly poor. DVM’s one trick wouldn’t work. Questions need to be asked on why our players aren’t equipped to hammer out points when we are in control in the last five minutes of a game. Had we been able to do that we would have had a bonus point against Wales, beaten France and sneaked past Italy. 4 from 4 going into a decider. It’s painful

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  3. Italy played out of their shirts and deserved a win. Christie’s long run should have finished with a wee grubber, at the least the Italians would have been forced to clear their lines or tackle him without the ball. VDM should have pulled his opposing winger wide as Price was unmarked. Ah well. The box-kicking from Price was a series of wasted opportunities. When are coaches going to realise that it very rarely comes off? I would agree Horne needs to challenge around the breakdown more often but he makes up for it with his awareness of runners close to the ruck. I thought he delivered what was required – fast service to Finn and defensive kicks. Those who suggest if service is too quick it doesn’t allow the backs to position themselves I would guess have never played a game of rugby! The forwards let us down in quarters 2 & 3. We simply don’t have the players who can hit the gain-line with enough force to allow them control over the ball as they go down while putting the jackals on the back foot. Bradbury seems that kind of player. BK. What to do about BK? We love him going forward but he’s woeful in defence. Put him somewhere where he’s not patrolling the whole field. Ideally 2nd 5/8th where our flankers can cover his tackling except, of course, we have Sione who’s nailed himself on there. Maybe bring him on for impact when Huw Jones tires?

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    • Kinghorn’s a winger for me Duncan and a back-up one at that as we have better in that position. Last-up tackling and positioning aren’t good enough for a FB. Yes he plays for Toulouse which is fab but that’s club level.

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      • A rather good club at that where he rises to the challenge with high quality players coaches etc around him. With Scotland you sink into mediocrity at best.

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      • Kinghorn is at his best when the game is breaking up and bodies are tiring – his try against Italy last year, actually, exemplified it. He’s not the kind of player to be entrusted with key decisions: rather, a “there’s the ball, there’s the line – run” type of player. Open prairie, get those long pins going.

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  4. ……Anyone else notice when Christie broke up the pitch he looked like he was on wheels or in a computer game, so smooth was his running style……No, in all seriousness, I’ve been of John Martin’s view that Townsend should have walked or been given the heave-ho after Japan ’19; the Ireland game was a wreakage, the Japan game possibly one of the worst results in our history. For me, he’s not been a failure per se – there have been some great results in there – it’s just all been a bit relective of the way he was as a player, inconsistent, up n down etc.
    To answer the question as to who would replace him: rugby union is a global sport coached and played by a lot of talented people. Scotland would be an attractive proposition because there are really talented players within the group we have. In short, it’s gone stale with Townsend, thank-you (genuinely) for the memories, time to move on.

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    • What GREAT results? Beating South Africa and/ or Ireland in France last year would have been great results. Beating Ireland at Murrayfield last year would have been a great result. If England and Wales are rebuilding for 2027 then the wins against them surely weren’t GREAT results. It seems every time we get close we back off. Instance Ireland and France last season and France a few weeks ago. If we beat Ireland on Saturday I would call that a great result. Here’s hoping.

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      • France away, England away twice (i’d never witnessed us win at Twickenham prior), monkey belatedly removed from back in Wales. All pretty good no?
        Trouble with it all is they’re individual wins in isolation.

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      • It’s only because of the improvements under Townsend that so many fans have the expectation of winning so many games. Who would have ever thought Scotland fans would downplay a win against England or France. My kids think beating England is the norm.
        Time for a new voice but let’s not rewrite history to paint Townsends tenure as a failure.

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      • Bang on Adam. A new voice, new ideas, and hopefully a coach who can add steel and squeeze every bit of ruthlessness and dog out of what we have. Time too, to give players like Max Williamson, Cameron Henderson and Gregor Hiddleston a chance too see what they can bring to the partae. Those lads look like they have something different. There’s a good foundation to build on.

      • Agree Donald. We need young players getting game time at club level though. Too many established players on cruise control at club level and when added to none SQ and decent club pros aged over 30 we have a bottleneck.

      • Will probably get jumped on for saying it but I’ve no doubt Gregor’s stock will still be high if indeed he does depart; he has a lot to offer. The flow of imports seems, seeeeems, to be slowing in recent times so hopefully that will be propitious to what you are saying about our own young guys getting a chance…..And long may that norm your kids are accustomed to continue btw!

      • Argentina had a GREAT result against Wales in France. It put them in a R.W.C. semifinal. Fiji had a GREAT result against Australia. It helped put them in a R.W.C. quarterfinal against England. A game which they came close to winning. The Rugby World Cup needs to become our yardstick not the Calcutta Cup.

    • I heard the Schmidt interviewed for the Georgia position. I would not know enough to say if would have been good for Scotland but if true does suggest its a pretty global marketplace.

  5. Ridiculous marking-seen lower in good wins!
    Next week-long MacDowall and White definitely start. Possibly Watson? Bradbury? If it was a home game I,d play Paterson or Rowe ahead of Kinghorn.

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  6. Kinghorn a 7? Comedic! Awful defender and looked clumsy in attack. He wouldn’t make my 23.
    Russell was average at best.
    None of the backs worth more that 5 or 6.

    Z Fagerson was decent …Christie was pretty good except running too far ahead of support instead of grounding when he released there was no way he was outstripping the Italy defense.

    Thats about it…we looked a mistake ridden side with no real game strategy and plan b.

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  7. Had my rant. Now cuddling up with a bottle of Cragganmore. Apologies if I’ve overstated my case. How many games have we suffered defeats by 2 or 3 points over the last 10 years in games we should have won. There I go again. Back in touch after we win in Dublin next week

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    • Sussex Scot. It’s not a game on performance we should have won. Italy are a rising team, we’re at home and very much deserved the win. On paper Scotland are arguably the better side but we can’t perform well for long enough periods in a match. Flashes of great play and 15-20 mins of excellent team play.

  8. Scotland definitely missed Tuipulotu & the additional options he provides Russell with with his hard running through the centre. Scotland’s game plan & effectiveness is sorely restricted without him. That said Scotland looked good when playing at a very high tempo, which they did at the start and end of the match, but in between severely dropped off & let Italy play to their strengths, with Scotland losing as a consequence. There were enough opportunities to win the game but unfortunately amateur mistakes resurfaced with players who should know better. I don’t begrudge Italy their victory though as they’ve served their 6N apprenticeship & are now starting to reap the benefits of investing in their youth.

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    • Our pack appear unable to control the ball. Individually they have to be good enough but whenever the pressure comes on they seem to start playing in ones and twos.

  9. Living in England I’ve had countless people offering to buy me a pizza or pasta this evening. Do you have any idea how irritating that is? Sorry Gregor and your “team”, it’s all your fault.

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    • Why don’t you just ask them if they heard the joke about the country with 1 million registered rugby players?

      We beat them 4 times in a row.

  10. Apologies to Selkirk 4ths.I’m sure you’re better than that crock of s*** we sat through today. Sorry guys but I’m so bloody angry. Turn it round next week? Dream on

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  11. Looking at those scores you’d think we won comfortably. We were looking like McCaw’s All Blacks for 25 minutes, and then Selkirk 4ths thereafter. Hard to think of a single Scottish player who could hold his head up tonight and say”I did ok”. Equally hard to think of players outside the team who could improve it. Tuipolutu, Richie Gray Darcy Graham. Beyond those 3,that team today was the best we had to offer. Where the hell do we go from here. The failings aren’t rugby ability. We’ve seen most of those players do extraordinary things at times. It’s between the ears. In that second half nobody had a clue how to turn the Italian tide that was smashing about their heads. Conversely we saw an inferior England turn over a superior Irish side through sheer devil, bloody mindness, refusal to lose allied to a coherent game plan. Any chance we can do the same any time soon. One step forward, two steps back. It was ever thus. Frankly I’m sick of it.

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    • You didnt mention Ben White, we badly missed his control and game management. Horne is good for 20mins but the headless chicken act looses its impact after that.

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      • That doesn’t even make any sense. Horne’s distribution is intelligent and varied. White is ponderous and does a few box kicks that give away possession add up to that tired and hackneyed phrase “game management”?

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  12. Not gonna begrudge Italy their win and I think we’ve got a chance to upset Ireland next week.

    I think we’ve long lacked a nasty win at all costs guy who holds other players to account for lapses or poor discipline. Think Alan Wyn Jones. The closest is Grant Gilchrist. I think a player like that would make a significant difference to us and enable us to edge these tight fixtures.

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  13. King Blairhorn was utter guff today….looked like he’d never played international rugby before. As pointed out below, his idiotic kick that went 30 yards up and 3 yards forward gave Italy a second try and a momentum that they never relinquished. He’s lucky to get 2 out of 10.

    Cam Redpath also had a stinking day at the office on a day when he really needed a big performance to lay claim to a position in which we have a bit of depth. We really, really, really missed Sione.

    Nobody stuck their hand up to get more than 5/10. Every single player was guilty of either awful discipline or basic errors.

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  14. VdM = show pony, simply a runner-in.
    Little rugby skill in evidence, positionally poor, ball retention woeful, weak defensively. Overall, a liability. Not even Scottish!

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    • Well, Albert…. leaving aside the potential argument contained in your final sentence, fully agreed, and you could have added ball distribution as an additional weakness.

  15. As always some generous starting scores. I thought Finn and Horne were in the 5/6 range – not great. Kinghorn the same and no backs warranted more than 6. The front row in the forwards were I thought the best performers with Turner probably the pick. Back row about right.

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    • Got to agree re Finn, a lot of these phases where the ball was all over the place were down to him…

      George seemed to struggle to keep his passes down, a lot were head high …

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      • That’s one of the issues I have with Horne, his passing isn’t good enough. He’s best suited to coming off the bench. We need a proper captain to tell Russell to play the percentages more often too. Whether or not he’ll listen…

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  16. I think macdowall in place of redpath would have made backline more direct/give more beef and allow offloads to jones who is then at his best similar to then sione who we missed. White also needs to return for horn.

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  17. I know these ratings are a but of fun but seriously Iain you are extending it to the comedic.The only players worth more than a 5 were Dempsey, Christie and Jones. The rest were at varying degrees of ineptitude. But a special mention goes to BK who was niwhere to be seen at both Italian tries and M Fagerson whose only contribution was to give away the penalty for the winning points.

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  18. Kinghorn looks good going forward. Needs better defensive awareness. Decent enough game. Dealt better with the high ball.

    Redpath looked off pace for most of the match with too little too late. Jones played better.
    McDowall could have offered more against a more muscular pair of centres.

    Christie had some highs but also that penalty after the interception and run was naive.

    Bench wasn’t fully emptied and thought they left it too late. What’s the point of having Fagerson and Ritchie if you don’t use them.

    Ditto for Rowe. Redpath off. Rowe at FB and rejig BK and Finn at 10 and 12.

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    • Are you absolutely mental? You are seriously suggesting Finn NOT being a 10 would have been a good idea? I honestly do wonder about some people. Do you watch a lot of rugby or just the odd Scotland game?

      That’s one of the worst shouts I’ve ever read on here 😂

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  19. Some nice trolling there Mr. Morrison. Kinghorn was a 4 – and that’s stretching it!

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  20. What game was Mr Morrison watching ? . Feckless would best describe the performances of some of these highly. paid professional rugby players .

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  21. Not sure who you would drop out of that. Our two centres were outplayed, maybe give McDowell a go. Duhan wont enjoy the Monday review but his place is safe. Maybe swap Kinghorn for Rowe but he didnt even get on. Bring back White with Price dropping out.
    In the forwards I would say we are short of alternatives except in the back row but I dont think Darge will be dropped. I suspect it might be a collective boot up the backside and then we will see if the team is willing to fight for the coach.

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  22. How can you give these ratings? We lost. Discipline and kicking were both unacceptably poor. All of the starting team getting a 6 or better!! Get a grip.

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  23. Barring injuries, i think that may be Price’s last appearence for us. He no longer looks up to Test match standard. Time to move on with White, Horne and Dobie.

    As already stated, very generous score for Kinghorn, i am a big fan but he probably had his worst performance for us today.

    Will be interesting to see if Townsend drops those who played poorly today for the Ireland game….

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    • He’s not even URC standard which is perfectly evident to anyone who bothers to look.

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    • No doubt GT will give the same players the same second chances they get after every defeat of GTs yo-yo tenure as coach.
      No leadership…no accountability…either as coaches or players.
      Suit up for the next Ireland humiliation!…and the loyalist supporters of GT excitement at Scotland being ‘in it at half time’.

  24. Some very very generous scores. Kinghorn -7?! He must have had his worst game in a Scotland shirt. Similar with redpath. I also thought price’s 5 is very generous.

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    • I agree. He’s not been great in either of the games since he came back and on a couple of their scores there was no-one covering the back. Not sure Russell should take the blame for the Lynagh try as suggested in the scoring but then congratulations to the Italians for identifying a weakness in our defence.

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      • Steyn all over the place in defence causing two big line breaks by missing a tackle and getting his positioning all wrong yet gets an 8?

        No-one in the backs deserved more than a 7. The Italian score of 1st phase was a defensive blunder by the backs. The third try another defensive unforced error by a back causing the bust. Scores are far too high.

        Schoeman deserves a 6 but his penalty didn’t “cancel” the try as it was only scored because he created the hole.

        White and Tuipulotu were badly missed.

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      • Absolutely right. We were stlll ahead when the try was disallowed then Italy missed their touch from the penalty but instead of rebuilding we give them cheap possession in the middle of the field and lose a try seconds later.

        Scandalous, self-inflicted wound at the worst possible moment.

    • A couple of decent attacking moments from BK but wholly or partly culpable for all Italy’s tries.

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      • Also, his phlaffed kick right after the disallowed try gifted the Italians the ball in our half and led directly to Lynagh’s try. That was the real turning point of the game.

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