Six Nations: Wales v Scotland player ratings

A mixed bag for Gregor Townsend's side who fail to sustain early promise

Kyle Rowe emerged from the madness of Scotland's win over Wales with his reputation enhanced. Image: © Craig Watson -
Kyle Rowe emerged from the madness of Scotland's win over Wales with his reputation enhanced. Image: © Craig Watson -

15. Kyle Rowe – 7

A mixed bag from the Scotland full-back who still emerged from the madness with his reputation enhanced. He kicked pretty well from hand but was charged down in the first half for which he, luckily, paid no price. Dealt with a difficult bouncing ball in the second half with some skill. [Cameron Winnett – 6]

Six Nations: Wales v Scotland reaction: second half collapse evoked memories of 2010

Six Nations: Wales v Scotland reaction: Finn Russell laments Scots complacency

Six Nations: Wales v Scotland report: Cardiff curse lifted in game of two halves

14. Kyle Steyn – 7

Excellent opening half when he was busy catching high balls and running hard lines but faded somewhat as the match continued and Wales got the bit between their teeth. [Josh Adams – 5]

13. Huw Jones – 6

He didn’t do much wrong but only because he didn’t do much at all to be honest. One of those games that rather passed him by. Competent. [Owen Watkin – 6]

12. Sione Tuipulotu – 8

He enjoyed one of his best games for Scotland, on both sides of the ball, right up until that yellow card in the second half which put Scotland under enormous pressure. His no-look pass to Russell in the build up to van der Merwe’s first try was a thing of beauty. Ended up on the flank, where he looked a very good centre. [Nick Tompkins – 6]

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 9

He scored a good try on 30 minutes and repeated the trick on 42 minutes. Just failed to grab a hat-trick with the last play of the game but a good showing from the big winger who showed some hunger and desire. [Rio Dyer – 7]


10. Finn Russell – 8

One of Russell’s best defensive games, and it had to be! Russell bossed this contest when Scotland enjoyed the whip hand in the opening 40-50 minutes but, as captain, he needed to get a better grip on his team when they imploded in the second half. His creative genius made both of Duhan van der Merwe’s two tries. Perhaps Towsnend could find another leader and allow Russell to concentrate on what he does best? [Sam Costelow – 5]

9. Ben White – 8.

Excellent performance from the Toulon scrummy, especially from his boot, which dominated the opening 50 odd minutes with a series of long clearances before Wales rose from the dead and dominated play. [Gareth Davies – 5]


1. Pierre Schoeman – 8

The big Saffa enjoyed one of his most impressive games in blue with a first half try, strong carries throughout and he even cleared up an opposition chip kick. [Corey Domachowski – 7]

2. George Turner – 5

Does so many astonishing things in open play but he gets on the wrong side of referees far too often and his yellow on 47 minutes kick-started Wales’ Lazarus-like revival. He lost one line-out throw and he declined to engage at one scrum, further annoying the man in the middle. [Ryan Elias –2]

3. Zander Fagerson – 6.

He conceded a couple of penalties but was busy in defence and generally scrummed quite well. [Leon Brown – 5]

4. Richie Gray – 7

The big fella only lasted 30 minutes but he still stole a Welsh line-out in that time. [Dafyyd Jenkins – 6]

5. Scott Cummings – 6

A little unlucky to concede a 33rd minute penalty. Worked hard but failed perhaps to impact the game as much as he would have liked. [Adam Beard – 7]

6. Luke Crosbie – 7

He arguably got away with a high shot after his shoulder made contact with Sam Costelow’s head on 35 minutes The incident ended Wales’ fly-half’s game, and helped bring Wales back into contention, but Crosbie continued to impose himself on this match.  [James Botham – 7]

7. Jamie Richie – 6

A slightly quiet game for Scotland’s one time leader. Perhaps the positional switch from 6 to 7 caused some problems but Richie has played better in the past and will do so again in the future. [Tommy Reffell – 9]

8. Matt Fagerson – 6

The younger Fagerson brother is always hugely industrious and he was busy in Cardiff. Top tackler with 18. But he probably didn’t see enough of the ball in hand to impose himself on events. [Aaron Wainwright – 8]


Replacements –

16. Ewan Ashman – 5

Lost one lineout.

17. Alec Hepburn – 7

Held the scrum up late in the game.

18. Eliot Millar-Mills – 7

Same as Hepburn. Rose to the occasion.

19. Sam Skinner – 7

On early for Big Richie and performed admirably, which included two line-out steals.

20. Jack Demspey – 6

A little quiet but Scotland had almost no possession when he was on the field. There is an argument to start him next Saturday against France.

21. George Horne – 6.

Probably wasn’t on for long enough to catch the eye but he did the needful including running down the clock late in the game.

22. Ben Healy – N/A

23. Cameron Redpath – 6.

Looked good the few times he touched the ball.

Six Nations: Wales v Scotland report: Cardiff curse lifted in game of two halves

About Iain Morrison 133 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.


  1. We nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We will regret not getting the fourth try and thus the BP. Suggest leaving Fin Russell to play his game without the captaincy. Given his central position he can always contribute to on field decisions on a one off basis. Difficult to see way ahead. France likely to beat us, Engerland might, Italy might, Ireland will. Third place at best for us. Oh dear and pathway from Super Six and amateur game generally does not get many, if any, travellers.

  2. We nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We will regret not getting the fourth try and thus the BP. Suggest leaving Fin Russell to play his game without the captaincy. Given his central position he can always contribute to on field decisions on a one off basis. Difficult to see way ahead. France likely to beat us, Engerland might, Italy might, Ireland will. Third place at best for us. Oh dear and pathway from Super Six and amateur game generally does not get many, if any, travellers.

  3. Can we do a commentator’s rating to make sure Jonathan Davies never holds a Mike in his hands during a game of union again.

  4. tbh it seems like a lesson Scotland can take a lot of value from.

    The Scottish fatalism Tom English talks about isn’t fiction, especially in older circles. A winning mentality could be seen as a foreign concept in Scotland. I’d wager that very little people in Scotland considered the idea that we’d double our lead in the second half.

    All the same being pragmatic, I think the next 3 are winnable but Ireland in Dublin there simply isn’t a precedent to expect a win there. And none of the next 3 games can be considered a formality. I’ll be putting the 2nd half down to a lapse of professionalism and as professionals they’ll take it on the chin. Respect the fact they won the game just not with a money shot over 80 minutes.

  5. Perhaps its a reflection of where Scotland is that we are on here as it’s a loss.

    On scrum half I reckon White does pretty much what Russell says with ball in hand and kicked very well. Horne Is quicker, flashier but has little of the control really required.
    In hindsight back row all too similar, Crosbie had a b.good game but other 2 were pretty average. Options available
    Lock is interesting if R.Gray is out, Skinner hasn’t had a run of games/played well for a while, Young has been good, I reckon Alex Samuel should be in the squad.
    Matthews must play hooker.

    • “Little of the control really required” – what does that actually mean? Where is the loss of control when he delivered an inch perfect grubber for Steyn to score against France last year. Franco Smith seems to think he has plenty of control week on week.

      • Fair question Duncan….. Horne suits the harem scarem Glasgow style but IMO White’s more understated style suits starting for Scotland better.
        Horne is a brilliant option but for me he’s better employed as an impact sub.
        Re Glasgow- with Dobie injured Horne is clearly #1 pick.

  6. It’s a win and I really liked Finn’s honest , real time analysis in his pm interview of what went wrong in 2nd half . No hype . Forwards will need to be better next week and if Darge is not fit, I would like to see Watson at 7 and Rory Hutchison at FB if no Kinghorn.

  7. Final thoughts on the Cardiff match before we move on to Murrayfield and France.
    To win Test Matches you need to be better than your opponents for longer. Scotland were. Congratulations to everyone in the Scottish camp.

  8. I think we really missed Gray when he went off. He was intimidating their line-out and although Skinner stole a couple when he came on the momentum was shifted.

    I put much of the blame for the second half with the forwards. Our back row was outplayed and taken out of the game by the referee so we had little ball. Then when the backs did get the ball its was largely poor ball in the wrong areas and resulted in relieving kicks.

    The good news is we did largely regain our composure in the last 5 minutes and held out when in past years we’d have lost it.

    • Correct re forwards and the frustrating thing was it was clear this would happen when the selection was known. Omitting Bradbury n Christie was lunacy as was leaving Horne on the bench. The fact that GT cannot see what everyone else does is infuriating.

  9. 7 for Skinner feels very generous. I thought this was an uncharacteristically poor game from him, gave away four needless penalties (even though I don’t agree he was tackling from the floor) and didn’t defend the maul well. We missed Richie today

    • agree. he let wainwright in. completely failed to tackle him on the line. i like skinner and always pleased when he’s in the mix but not a good outing. having said that the issues in Cardiff weren’t about any one player. the entire Scotland team looked like they were mentally in te showers after try 3 at 27-0. its unthinkable that Ireland would let that happen so why do scotland?

      • We often play one half of goid rugby and are AWOL for the other. 38-all game with England. Ireland and France in 2023 6N. Ireland and SA at RWC.

        As far as I understand there was no formal review of our RWC. Tellingly Ritchie said that Townsend hadn’t yet spoken to him about it in an interview at the back end of last year. So it appears that the “lessons being learned” is just a sound bite.

        And now we’ve just done it again. The lack of learning is obvious on the field. This comes straight from the coach who should be formally reviewing why we keep playing for only half of big games.

  10. I take it these scores are for the first 43 minutes only, at least 2 points off everyone – except 2nd half subs – for collective implosion in remaining 37 minutes. No way should we just give up like that. There’s GT in 1st episode of Full Contact giving a talk about keeping pressure on and we simply aren’t ruthless enough on the pitch. 8s and 9s are what the Irish team should get for their performance on Friday night, we are nowhere near that kind of total domination. DVdM did well for 2nd try, good kicking games from White and Russell first half, decent effort from the pack in 1st half though too much reliance on Crosbie for carrying and Tuipulotu tried hard but for me, that’s about it. Last 5 minutes showed the effort we should be able to expect from an international team for the full 80. Happy to offer praise when due but these scores just flatter the whole team way too much.

  11. Cannot disagree with the scores. I thought we could have one for the coach as well.
    So I give Gregor a 5 I think he was slow with his substitutes , in a team that had gone to sleep and in danger of losing and for picking Ritchie and Ashman in the first place.

  12. Skinner marked too highly for someone who gave away four penalties even if one was harsh.

    Steyn was poor in defence again. Missing way too many tackles and not decisive in when to come off his wing and left in no man’s land.

    Ritchie can’t be picked next week when Christie is in form and Darge returning to fitness.

    Townsend made a mistake taking off Crosbie rather than Ritchie during the Turner binning too.

    Halves controlled the game well for 45min until the forwards imploded. Sub props did well.

  13. Three of those had enough caps and either weren’t aggressive enough and/or impactful enough at that level. Harvey and Kellock were great club pros but below what was needed at international level.

  14. 8 for White? In many of these comments there’s a failure to understand just how pivotal a scrum-half is to the game. Distribution is key to a running game and White visibly struggles to extract the ball from the ruck and too often his pass is preceded by a step or a wind-up. Too much is made of the kicking game. It has it’s place but the Welsh demonstrated in the 2nd half just how a running game can dismantle the opposition. Horne is key to our running game and it’s simply criminal that opportunity is passed up by relegating him to the role of impact player.

    • I’d agree with whyte getting 8. The Welsh spent 50 minutes kicking long and then contesting for the ball well into our half. It’s the style they played all last 6 nation and World Cup hoping to pressure the opposing team into making handling errors when playing from deep. Whites kicking nullified that – hence they never threatened at all in that time.
      Horne should have came on once they changed tactics.
      As for digging the ball out, I thought he had legitimate claim that the Welsh were preventing clean ball but O Keefe had received a fat brown envelope by then and was on our case from the start.

      • i always try not to go after the ref but you do have to wonder why he appeared a bit one eyed. It did seem that he got pissed off with us for some reason and pinged us for some quite borderline infringements. He was certainly not lenient. There were several times I thought Wales had hands in the ruck slowing the ball down and also getting in the way of the scrum half – no interest from the ref.

    • yes, there is a failure to understand. A scrum half can only do quick ball if the pack deliver it. First half they did, and White was sublimely professional. Sublimely. 0-27 suggests we were doing a lot right. Wales first half very poor but much of that down to us being smarter and countering their only plan – kick high, chase it and hope for dropped balls
      Box kick clearances from White were Dupont level.

      • Come on, anyone can kick a ball into touch. The art in box kicking is in height and length for the chasers. Horne had absolutely no problem digging the ball out when he came on because he’s there too quickly for their back row.

      • Hi Duncan , we’re talking about 9s clearance box-kicking from rucks inside our 22 when we’re under the pump, not a plain ol’ kick to touch. White’s were an instant pressure reliever on more than once occasion as his were landing around the 10 metre, even halfway line neck of the woods. Du Klerk and Dupont excel in it. It can actually swing momentum as it gives an opportunity to compete at the lineout. The Saffers sometimes deliberately keep it infield and come haring up the park with their brilliant kick-chase and use their physicality to pressurise the consequent ruck.
        I watch Glasgow week in week out too and Horne’s equivalent kicks land around the 22 consistently. This is no George Horne bashing exercise though, I rate him highly 👍

  15. What can you say??? I was utterly exhausted… it’ll be a game I’ll only ever view the 1st half highlights.
    Human physiology is a fascinating subject, the 38-38 game was similar the sublime to the ridiculous (or vice versa)
    We won and that’s good enough for me.
    For some strange reason The Welsh kicked aimlessly long and left Russell space in the 1st half and at 0-27 then we proved our Scottishness by being so Scottish. Mistakes, YCs, passiveness.

    Ramblings- Turner and Ashman not to be trusted – need Matthews to start.
    Dempsey will start next week and hopefilly Crosbie ok, add Darge to the mix.
    Redpath at 12 for the extra wee bit control
    I still like Young at lock.

  16. Harsh on Jones. Think he showed up defensively, which he is not known for.
    Didn’t think Rowe was great, not sure I’d start him against the French. He didn’t look comfortable.
    Hoping Darge is good to go next week as Ritchie was pretty poor by his standards.

    • Agree, harsh on Shuggie, thought he defended well. Some big decisions for next week and question is will Toonie have the guts to make the needed big calls? Gotta start playing the inform players in position, he just hangs on from making decisions for a few games too far. We got away with it yesterday.

      Ashman not having the impact necessary, Matthews deserves his chance from the bench. Same with the back row, Ritchie not on form, Christie, Bradbury, and Bayliss are. Scottish front row were expected to dominate in Cardiff and simply didn’t (Schoeman excepted) and will need to up their game as France are a very different challenge. Struggling for locks in the lineout and loose, lots of injuries with peripheral players, but maybe an opening for Glen Young to make a mark.

      I thought Rowe played ok defensively, and was just too conservative in attack – he has looked a lot better for Glasgow in that regard. Steyn looked as though he was just back from injury (which he is) so will be better in last 30 than he was today. Only change maybe in the mix would be Hutch at 15? May be harsh on Rowe?

      Anyway, big step up needed next week, as France will be better than they were v Irish…. And we simply have to see those inform players and ball carriers in match day squad – pls!


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