Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland v Argentina – Player Ratings

Greig Laidlaw - pic © Al Ross
Greig Laidlaw - pic © Al Ross

Stuart Hogg – Capable performance under the high ball. Looked oddly out of sorts at times though. Missed a long range penalty early in the second half but then atoned by finishing his try well. Not his best game, not his worst. 6/10

Sean Maitland – Scored in the first half, seems more at home as a wing than a full-back. Looked at times dangerous, at other times anonymous. He’s currently our best option but by no means irreplaceable. 6/10

Mark Bennett – Utterly furious that Gray Junior didn’t offload to him in the first half when the line was begging. Despite that he made some good breaks and did well on the tackle line. A competent if unspectacular debut. 6/10

Alex Dunbar – Generous with the ball to his centre partner Bennett and delivered his usual ‘thou shall not pass’ defensive performance. Failed to offer a lot going forward though. Replaced late on by Lamont. 6/10

Tommy Seymour – Fairly anonymous performance which wasn’t necessarily his fault. Didn’t see a lot of ball and despite a few slim half-chances to score he didn’t have a lot to do apart from tackle and chase. Then bang! Interception try! Added sheen to an otherwise quiet performance. 6/10

Finn Russell – Spent a fair bit of time dropping back in the three quarters to allow the potential Hoggy to marauder (he didn’t in the end). Kicking out of hand was at times brilliant, a true ‘footballer’. Defence great too, on this evidence a real potential asset. 7/10

Greig Laidlaw – Had a blinder. A Captains performance. Noticeably solid kicking from hand and quick service became trademark from the returning scrum-half. Took his place kicks with steely accuracy too. Gloucester we thank you. 9/10

Ali Dickinson – Involved a lot in the loose, particularly in the first half. Seemed to be doing a David Sole impression at the same time as playing rugby as well, which was nice. Good all round performance from the Edinburgh prop. 6.5/10

Ross Ford – Seemed to benefit from the switch to 5 man line outs in which his throwing was near perfect. Had some big carries and generally looked the part in a Scotland jersey, for once. Best game in a Scotland shirt since….well…forever really. 8/10

Euan Murray – Got penalised a few times in the scrum lottery (including the penalty try) but generally a good game from ‘Euge’. Showed surprisingly adept awareness on the few occasions he had ball and added serious go forward to the mauls. 6/10

Richie Gray – Resurgent performance from Big Brother Gray. Finally looks to be getting back to the creative, physically imposing, world-class lock we thought he was going to be three years ago. Scoring tries, claiming line-outs, clearing out rucks and melting opposition ball carriers were the order of the day. Welcome back. 8/10

Jonny Gray – Carried out his set-piece and defensive duties with aplomb but really caught the eye in the loose with ball in hand. Has a natural instinct to straighten his running line very well. Likes a cheeky dummy too. Confidence is high, his try and performance today will keep it that way. 8/10

Robert Harley – Relatively quiet game from the Glasgow man, not helped by an illegal charge on his ribs late in the first half. Very harshly yellow-carded in the second-half. Came back on in time to see Big Jim take his place on the seat of shame. 5/10

Adam Ashe – Outstanding home debut for the young Glasgow eight. Always in the hunt for the ball, made yards when he had no right to and defended masterfully. Looks every bit the seasoned international, which is not bad for your second cap. 8.5/10

Blair Cowan – Combative, proficient but not particularly eye-catching. Perhaps an unfair comparison but one wonders what Barclay might have brought to the seven shirt today. Replaced by ‘Big Stroker’ on the hour mark. 6.5/10



Scott Lawson – Took his bow on 65 mins. Scrabbled around in defence well but contributed to a shaky scrum late on. 5/10

Gordon Reid – Replace Dickinson with 10 minutes left on the clock. Unfortunately stepped straight into a front row that gave away a penalty try. 5/10

Geoff Cross – Wow. Just wow. That beard…Even his beard has ‘girth’. Came on after an hour but didn’t achieve parity of performance with Murray. 5/10

Jim Hamilton – As the saying goes “there’s no show without Punch…”Yellow carded almost instantly (team fouls…to be fair). Didn’t re-emerge. 5/10

Alasdair Strokosch – Came on with an hour gone to replace Cowan. Unfortunate to be part of a generally disappointing and fractured period of the game. 5/10

Henry Pyrgos – Came on with twenty minutes left. Given the armband in the absence of Greig. Got concussed. Came off again. 5/10

Duncan Weir – Converted Seymours try but also gave away a penalty on our line. 5/10

Sean Lamont – Little chance to shine in the 5 minutes he was given. 5/10




11 Responses

  1. Think you are over hard on Cowan and Harley (some bias here ?) as I saw them both put in a very committed and effective game in the loose, especially in the first half like most of the forwards. They are perhaps not the flash ball carriers that can catch the eye, but they made a big difference in the loose getting the ball or spoiling Argentina’s possession.

  2. great analysis Brodie. Think you are pretty much spot on. Ross Ford was the best I have ever seen him, silenced his critics. First time I think I’ve ever seen in make a line break. Great team performance from scotland. Was impressed with the back row especially Adam Ashe. Fantastic player. Think Blair Cowan done a lot of unseen work at the breakdown and slowed down opposition ball which allowed our defence to reform.

    Great to finally get a good performance from a scotland team and playing fast phase and offloading rugby just like Glasgow have done. The proof in the pudding will be next week against the Blacks. Fingers crossed

  3. I think pretty much all the backs could get marked up a point. They were a brick wall in defence and each of the back three grabbed a try when given a sniff, that’s what they are there for!

    The back row as a unit played very well. Beattie is going to find it a long way back now, as Ashe has taken his chance very well, he did not look out of place at all. I though the two flankers were good as well and more than justified their selections over more illustrious names. VC does seem to know what he is talking about, funny that!

  4. Be fair, Laidlaw captained poorly, had a kick charged down, lost possession in contact twice -leading to the 1st try and a penalty. His box kicking away of possession seemed directionless and the actions of a man who has no confidence in his outside backs. What is the purpose of the team working tooth and nail for a turnover only for him to punt it straight back to the opposition? Who’s call is that, VC’s or Greg’s? His match management was dreadful. 14 points up, we get 3 penalties clearly outwith his range, however, with one selfish eye on a meaningless piece of history, he opts to have a punt. Why not kick to touch, giving our hard working forwards(who were on top and high in confidence) the opportunity to entertain the crowd and score some tries. Also, it pins the Argies back, in their 22 where they can’t do much harm. Sure he sniped the fringes and created a couple of tries, great work, but nothing we shouldn’t expect of a half decent scrumhalf.

    1. I don’t think that is a fair view of his performance at all. If Laidlaw keeps up his level of performance through the AIs he’ll be nailed on scrum half and captain for the 6N and potentially the RWC too. He handed Maitland and Hogg tries on a plate and up until 70min Scotland dictated the game well. It wasn’t a flawless performance but I can only remember one player ever achieving that (Carter v Lions 2005). Fully deserved his MotM and also deserves some respect from some of his more vocal detractors.

  5. Wee bit harsh on Harley and Cowan but as we have set our bench high pretty accurate other than that.
    Regarding the front row and the penalties/penalty try, we will struggle until we replace like for like (Ford and Lawson). I love the way Lawson goes about his business, a real mongrel, but we are giving away so much weight and power when Ford goes off, the whole dynamics changes. We really need some size there.
    Other than that I’d still like to see Cusiter back v the All Blacks

  6. I remain unimpressed by Laidlaw. Granted, some nice touches and generally kicked well from the tee. But service is slow – watch the one- or two-step before he gets it away. And unless it’s coached out of him, one day we are going to lose a seriously important Test by his telegraphing to everyone in the stadium that he’s going to box kick from a ruck or maul, thus inviting the charge down. He’s not the real deal at Test level – but could be with some serious attention to basics because he is an excellent all round footballer.

    1. I am beginning to think he does the slow ball deliberately to either get the defence offside, or trying to make a gap for himself to dart through.
      So when they don’t fall for it slow ball to the backs to try it all over again…. maybe?

  7. As a regular moaner about Laidlaw and Ford over the last few years, I was happy to be ‘put back in my box’ last weekend. Just remember though. ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’. If it’s a confidence thing and they can maintain that kind of level, fantastic. I wouldn’t be too sure about that though.They both had their best games in a Scotland shirt, after their technical and tactical faults were widely slated by many people who do know what they’re talking about. We want the best players playing for Scotland, and if they have technical problems (and who doesn’t?) they need to work on them.
    I was amazed by the assurance and confidence of Fin Russell on Saturday, and hope he shows the same attitude this weekend.
    Although they didn’t do anything extravagant, the back row were quietly very strong as well. I don’t remember Ashe being mentioned much by the commentator, but then, I don’t remember the Argentinian back rows being mentioned at any point in the match. That says a lot in itself.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion