Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland vs Ireland: Player Ratings

David Denton - pic © Al Ross
David Denton - pic © Al Ross

Ryan Grant – Solid enough but went off relatively early with a knee injury. No major mistakes but part of a front three that had their hands full. 5

Ross Ford – lineout again worked well, didn’t do enough in the loose in the first half, slightly better in the second.  Always have the feeling that there is a better player than performances suggest, which puts him firmly in the “frustrating” category. 6

Euan Murray – off early with a bad looking nose injury.  Solid enough whilst on and the scrum faltered afterwards. 5

Jim Hamilton – adds ballast to the Scotland side, and the pack has been better technically with him on the pitch.  Another solid game and a rare line break in the second half, sadly not supported. 6

Jonny Gray – a quieter game today and looked to be well shackled by the Irish.  No shame as his opposite number has 101 caps – Paul O’Connell was outstanding.  His time will come, but today he had a lot of defending to do, making 17 tackles in total. 6

Adam Ashe – tomorrow’s man, who’s been asked to play today. Arguably carries more than Harley, and his education is being done at the hardest level.  Not awful but a long way behind the Irish back row in intensity. 6

Blair Cowan – despite a clean sheet last week, looks off the boil in comparison to his early Scotland performances.  Always fully committed but needs to make more of a nuisance of himself in the loose, both offensively and defensively. 6

David Denton – outstanding.  Head and shoulders the best Scots-Zimbabwean on the park.  Always getting go-forward ball and troubled the Irish. Can be a frustrating player but on this form is worthy of retaining his starting place. 8

Greig Laidlaw – kicked less which was good.  Again, slow ball at the breakdown, which was bad.  Really wish he would manage the tempo in a game but he’s just not doing it.  Better than the Italy game – but that was a low bar to hurdle. 6

Finn Russell – has all the skills but still learning. Needs better game management but looked decent in broken play and was a constant offloading threat even if he didn’t get many away.  Two criminally botched restarts as Scotland chased the game were criminal.  Close to a lower score but his try keeps it up, and plus points that he kept his composure to ensure an easy kick. 6

Tommy Seymour – quiet first half but did have a hand in sparking the Scotland try before half time.  Solid in defence and always looks a threat going forward.  Difficult day against a good side, solid but unspectacular. 6

Matt Scott – looked okay at the outset and was joint top ball-carrier for the Scots, but got quieter as game went on.  Had to do a lot defensively and never made any real impression on the second half. 6

Mark Bennett – similar to Scott but the other way round, started slowly and came into the game more in the second half.  His day will come but today was a tough shift and had little enough ball. 6

Dougie Fife – not good enough.  No more than okay going forward and unfortunately a liability in defence, Ireland constantly targeted him as a result.  He’s an honest player but not yet international standard.  At best he’s emergency cover material. 4

Stuart Hogg – the best of the backs.  Always a threat in the loose and Ireland look wary of his threat. Has got better as the tournament went on and unlucky to knock on late in the game, denying him a well deserved try. Despite the return of Scott and the emergence of Bennett, still looks like the one truly electric player in a blue shirt. 7


Al Dickinson – little impact, conceded a scrum penalty. 5

Geoff Cross – yellow card was an ignominious end to his bearded phase. If the penalties go with it that would be a good thing. 4

Brown, Tonks, Harley, Swinson – little impact when an impact was needed in the second half. 5s all round.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – increased the pace and made some nice half-breaks and offloads. One for the future. 6

Tim Visser – looked good in the spell he was on for Fife and perhaps deserved a bigger run at it in the second half. 6

24 Responses

  1. Not sure why the props got 5’s while Ross Ford got a 6?
    Same with he back row, who got a complete ‘shellacking’ in the loose today. Denton did carry well and he’s difficult to stop, but still far too slow to the breakdown.
    We clearly have problems in the pack and no chance to resolve them prior to the WC.
    Losing at home by 30 points to Ireland. A bad, bad day.

  2. Player ratings- they were all a load of f**king sh**e. I’ve never watched so much bullsh*t in my life. And I make no apologies for my bad language. **- fine still going to edit it, Ed**

  3. we haven’t had a decent front row for a long time…. but when we do it will be the backs that are out of sorts or the second row..

  4. Stepping up to represent your country must be the ultimate honour for any sports person. When however you have to face up to utter embarassment at this level, that takes a special type of courage. So I say, hat’s off to the lads and bring on the world cup.

  5. Awful display.Truly awful.
    First up tackling was abysmal and even when tackles were made;ground was conceded.exit strategies stikl don’t get far enough up the pitch putting the team constantly under pressure.of the forwards only Denton seems to make ground with any regularity.
    The one bright spark for me was SHC looked sharp when he came on,sniping round the fringes and passing crisply. the most frustrating thing for me is that actually when Scotland play in their opponents half they look dangerous but have no ability to keep the ball in the opponents half for any length of time and get it out of their own when under pressure.if Im being generous most of the players early on in their scotland careers have to learn too much at the highest level because of the lack of strength in depth.if I’m being harsh,the scotland players should watch the France england match or watch Wales in Italy and realise that the ferocity of their play is woefully short of those teams. I’ll always support Scotland but felt miserable after today’s performance.

  6. Overly generous scores.
    Thought Russell was poor today and failed to control the game.
    Fife had poorest game missing vital tackles but was not alone in this.
    Hamilton is just too damn slow around the park for international rugby.

    very poor performance from the players.

    another player not sinned binned when playing against Scotland for a clear yeloow card offense – is it just coincidence that this contunues game after game ?

    the Irish players showed how to avoid tackles rather than try to run through players.

  7. I thought that when he came on Fraser Brown played pretty well, better than ford at least. A 6 or a 7 for him in my book.

    Most others were very poor. Cowan looked to have taken a step back. Gray Jr. was meh. I hope to never see Dougie Fife in blue again, despicably awful defence. Defensive positioning as a team was hideous. Goeff Cross is the single most disappointing player I have ever seen. A huge man with a huge beard, but aside from one big carry he was our worst player.

    1. Well said. Cross has always been a disappointment , from his first cap when he dangerously tackled a man in mid air which thankfully knocked him out and spared us a red card.

      As for his appearance just look at him, what do you see. If that is what is going on on the outside, what is going on in the inside?


      1. On the inside is a man dreading Jon Welsh’s recovery and Zander Fagerson’s coming of age. Euan Murray had better watch himself too.

    2. Not quite what I meant however thanks for the reply. He was comprehensively beaten when playiong for his club 3 weeks ago – lifted and beaten in every scrum.

  8. Even not match fit Maitland would have Been a better option than Fife..skinny and can’t tackle i believe Cotter got it all Wrong
    Hamilton offered nothing..time to retire
    SHC looks sharp really excited about his style of play
    SCOTT is the shadow of the player he was in 2013..
    ASHE is one for the future, Harley needs to spend some time in the gym

    1. What about a fit John Beattie in place of Dougie Fife???? Ho Ho Ho. Yes folks it has been quite a tournament , an eye opener, thank goodness we have been sent homeward to think again.

  9. Come in hugh Blake, josh Strauss, willem nel, Sean Maitland, Blair Cowan all is forgiven. Seriously, what is the point of international rugby for small nations?

    We are firmly second tier. We should be playing in a different competition, this is no fun. You know that feeling you have when you check the fixtures and Italy are playing someone? That is how everyone feels about us!

    1. We’ve a bigger population than NZ or Wales and a similar population to Ireland. Population isn’t the problem, it’s the lack of accessibility of rugby to the masses.

  10. And that dismissive approach jonathan Davies has to scottish rugby on the bbc. He is actually right!

  11. Yes far far to generous, What!! You must be getting paid by them.apart from Hogg and Denton all the rest 4 out of 10 at max!! Surely.Don’t make out something they are not,C’mon man!!!

  12. I only watched the second half and wished that i had’nt as it must have been about 80% territorial and poseesion advantage to Ireland. Our forwards did not even try and they were pushed arround like a bunch or ‘weables’ on a dining table. Our defense just seemed to fall appart, we made loads of errors and uselless garrowen/box kicks (does this sould familiar). I dissagreee with Stevomc about Scotland being a second thier nation. He is being overly generous as we actually played like a third rate nation. I would say that we full deserve the wooden spoon- justice served. We were a complete disgrace and an embarassment to anyone who is Scottish.

    The players should be hu7miliated and made to appologise in public to the fans that dished out hard earned cash to watch that panotmime.

    1. I actually agree with that last part. When people buy tickets for an international sports fixture they expect a competitive and entertaining event. Not that. That was awful. People paid money to watch a farce. At least the Irish had a good time.

  13. Very generous, although the comment that Fife isn’t good enough is true.

    My ratings:

    Grant 5, Ford 5, Murray 5
    Hamilton 5, Gray 6
    Cowan 5, Denton 7, Ashe 5

    Laidlaw 5
    Russell 4

    Scott 5, Bennett 6
    Seymour 5, Hogg 7, Fife 2

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion