Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland v New Zealand Player Ratings

Jonny Gray on the run - pic © Al Ross
Jonny Gray on the run - pic © Al Ross


Stuart Hogg – Fairly shackled by his duties at full-back. Couldn’t afford to run into the line due to the danger of the quick turnover. Maturing nicely in the more mundane parts of the fifteen position. Did what was asked of him and occasionally more. One of our best players today.  8.5/10


Sean Maitland – Good game from the Kiwi born winger. Aggressive, accurate and hungry for action. Had a point to prove against his mother country and certainly left an impression on the game with his best display in a Scotland shirt yet. 8/10

Mark Bennett – Injured his hamstring and off for some ice and elevation after 12 minutes. n/a

Alex Dunbar – Finally had a few chances to run with the ball. Looked dangerous albeit in heavy traffic but his real strength is his unyielding tackling. He loves a tackle, loves it.  7.5/10

Tommy Seymour – interception off McCaw to score a famous try. Knocked on straight after then left a huge hole in defence trying to (nearly) intercept another. Generally good though. One of a decent developing Scottish backline.   8/10

Finn Russell – Tackled his heart out to atone for those two missed booms last week. Played well but rookie mistake with the charge down nearly cost us a try. Went off concussed straight after. Came back on and had a great second half. Kicking from hand and offloading a treat to watch. Off again on the hour mark. 7.5/10

Greig Laidlaw – Another solid display from the skipper. Made good decisions both personally and for the team. Kicked impeccably, including a drop-goal conversion early on. Sniped, cover tackled and took on the usual Border scrum-half responsibilities with relish. Subbed for Cusiter with five minutes left. 8/10

Ali Dickinson – Superb stuff from ‘Dicko’. Did the set-piece chores but also managed to look, at times, like a very robust blindside in the loose. Strong in the rucks and mauls too.  On this form Ryan Grant will find him hard to usurp. 8/10

Ross Ford – I like this new Ross Ford. He makes his line-outs, carrys the ball well and stands up his opposite number regularly in the scrum. Just needs to hook and we may have a good international hooker on our hands. At last. 8/10

Euan Murray – Warlike performance from a clearly fired up Mr Murray. Perhaps did too much ‘war-stuff’ and ended up coming off a broken man after half an hour. Good effort though. 6/10

Richie Gray – An absolutely world-class defensive display from the big blond one. Time and time again he halted the All Black tide with some huge hits. Was our priority target in the lineouts and added grunt to the scrum battle. Another excellent performance from the resurgent lock forward.  8.5/10

Jonny Gray – Man of the match in my opinion. His confidence and energy is only matched by his skill and desire to win for his country. Very promising couple of games from the Glasgow youngster. Lions 2017 very much on his horizon. 9/10

Robert Harley – Much more involved in all aspects of the game this week. Looked to disrupt wherever possible(and often when not possible). Gave option in the restarts and worked tirelessly around the paddock. Made yards with the ball too. Must be a nightmare to play against.  8/10

Adam Ashe – Less chance to shine on the ball this week but was very effective in all other areas. In particular his work from the base of the scrum was impeccable and his tackling immense. Visibly wilted in the second period and was replaced by Beattie on 55 minutes. 8.5/10

Blair Cowan – Used as a midfield battering ram/dummy runner off the line outs to reasonable effect. Put his body on the line throughout and make some vital contributions. Substituted with ten minutes to go after an altogether encouraging display.  8/10



Fraser Brown – Took a five minute bow at the end during a scrappy period. Scrums were toiling by this point. The experience will have done him the world of good. 6/10

Gordon Reid – His handful of minutes against the best team in world rugby will have set a benchmark for where he needs to be in the future. 6/10

Geoff Cross – Instantly contributed two penalty offenses before half-time. Was a yellow card waiting the happen in the second but managed to hold his discipline and contribute well. 6/10

David Denton – On for Cowan on 70 minutes. Found himself under Thrush for the winning All Black try. 6/10

Johnnie Beattie – On for Ashe on the hour mark to a warm reception from the BT Murrayfield crowd. 6.5/10

Chris Cusiter – Made a positive impact in the final shakes of the rattlesnakes tail. Lively, intelligent and popular with the crowd. 6/10

Duncan Weir – Came on for a dazed Russell on 25 minutes. Missed a tackle then gave away a penalty. Back on after an hour to little impact. 5/10

Sean Lamont – Best game for Scotland in a loooong time. Pure veteran warrior stuff as he chased, carried, tackled and looked every inch the Lamont we all know and love. 8.5/10

14 Responses

  1. Considering I said recently that I did not think Sean Lamont should get any more caps, was very happy to eat humble pie. He has an immense game and actually shows the value of having some experience in amongst all the promising kids.

    I thought Harley was immense as well, as were all the back row, all justified their selection and it will be very hard for others to find a way back in now.

    Laidlaw probably did not have his best game and I am not even thinking about the missed kick. I would have liked to have seen Cusiter on earlier, I hope he starts next week.

    We were not quite ready to beat them, but we are close. We actually improved in the second half, when we got our confidence and realised we could play them. So much promise, this side is growing up!

  2. Who is going to be the first to say ‘the emperor has no clothes’ when it comes to Stuart Hogg? 8.5/10??? Seriously????

    1. Have to agree Barbara, he’s still not always reliable under the high ball and often loses the ball in attack. He looked average today. Probably has to stay in though as he is still a potent attacking threat.
      Agree with the rest of the ratings.

  3. Average is about right. Three misses under the high ball and a serious knock on in a game like this does not rate an 8.5. In most matches he does one great thing and at least three clangers. Not good enough. He is dangerous in open space with the ball but frankly if he wasn’t he shouldn’t be there.

  4. I only caught the first half but Poite seemed to be having his usual stinker as referee. The ABs were lying all over the ball at the ruck and not disengaging from the tackle before trying to win the ball. Poite/Clancy/Joubert, take your pick, are terrible referees. Why do we never get Nigel Owens, the best in the business?

  5. Weir’s line kicking when he came on in 2nd half of a good standard, but as last week his decision making when shifting the ball very erratic. That wild misdirected pass was unnecessary as could have been costly had it not been for Hogg retrieving the situation.It is apparent after two AIs how much Scotland need Russell to remain on the pitch with his poise and direction key to our backline being given the freedom to display their talents.

  6. Stuart Hogg rating of 8.5? What game did you watch? I lost count of the number of times he dropped the ball.
    Overall a good performance from Scotland BUT let’s not forget this was a poor performance by an under strength NZ team.

  7. Can’t help thinking a couple of these ratings have been understandably boosted by the ‘we nearly beat the All Blacks’ effect, though I agree the Gray brothers and back-row were outstanding. I’m a big fan of Stuart Hogg, but he has played far better than he did yesterday and his mark is too high. As for Ross Ford? 9 out of 10 for throwing in and other all-round work. 2 out of 10 for doing his core job!

    1. What do you define as his core job?

      If you mean hooking the ball then there are different ways to approach scrums and one of those is not to hook but to concentrate on the shove to win the ball

      This technique has been used in Argentina for decades. If you ask any Argentinian 2 about them hooking for the ball they will laugh and tell you that as soon as the opposition 2 sees them lift their foot they will give the signal for an 8 man shove

      If Ford is not hooking it is because he has instructions to that effect from the coaching staff so speak to them and not him because if the scrum overall is not working which includes winning our own ball with or without a hook the responsibility for the technique lies with them

      Having said that I think Scotland’s scrum has improved a fair bit in the last 12 months

    2. I’m not criticising Ford on this occasion, as he does seem to be shoving to instructions rather than hooking. Ford had a good game and has been the player we’d hoped he’d be in the last 2 outings. I do question the Scotland tactics though. Do Scotland have a strong enough scrum to do this? Do they really think it’s all about timing and that they’re going to shove the big packs off the ball? I’d much rather see the ball hooked quickly and out of the scrum as soon as.

    3. Prag Op it may not be a belief that we can shove them off the ball but a fear that if we hook they will shove us

      1. I’m sure I heard it said a while back that the setting of Ford’s hips makes it very difficult for him to hook as others might – could be wrong on that, but I’m certain that I’d heard it was a medical/physiological issue rather than a lack of willingness

      2. I accept that might be the case Angus, but I’d like to see it tried occasionally.
        If the ball gets to the no 8 before any shove arrives, he can pick up and be off with it. It doesn’t matter what happens after that because the ball is long gone. Should it not be like every other aspect of play, in that if you do the same thing all the time, it becomes easy to defend. When I watched the AB’s in the southern hemisphere competition, they were even hooking out of the flankers channel to get the ball out quickly.

  8. Agree with the ladies about Hogg receiving a higher score than he merited. He really hasn’t been very good under the high ball. He even kicked high a couple of times then missed his own kicks as he was too busy looking to see who was going to hit him. It needs a bit of bravery to collect those, and he has to ignore ‘thunder of stampeding feet’. He does have a straight replacement in Peter Murchie, who is brilliant under the high ball and kept Hogg out of the Glasgow team for most of the latter half of last year. He’s also a good runner, although perhaps not as incisive as Hogg can be.The Grays and back row were immense. Harley is a monster and has gained some recognition in the last 2 games.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion