Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Guinness Pro 12 Final: Glasgow Warriors Player Ratings

Finn Russell and Al Kellock - pic © Al Ross
Finn Russell and Al Kellock - pic © Al Ross

A monumental performance from the Warriors, deservingly winning their first Pro 12 title. Townsend’s spot on team sheet executed the gameplan perfectly and nullified the potent Munster threats all over the field. Here are my ratings:

Stuart Hogg 7.5- Munster’s kicking plan suited the flyer, running back almost everything sent towards him, with interest. When stepping into the line he was a constant threat and worked Pyrgos’ try with relative ease.

Tommy Seymour 6.5- Out of the limelight due to the problems being caused on the other wing. He marshalled the dangerous Zebo nonetheless, and looked impressive as ever under the high ball, a rare skill Cotter and Townsend could reap reward from in the future. Will be disappointed with the missed tackle for Munster’s try.

Richie Vernon 7.5- Didn’t carry the ball as much as expected, partly due to the success in the wider channels. However on defence he was brutal and winning the contact most times. We will never know how pivotal his hold up for O’Connell’s try could be. Strong performance from the makeshift centre.

Peter Horne 8- A very strong performance, with 3 defenders beaten, committed dummy lines and leading the defensive organisation from the front seemingly reading everything the Munstermen were trying. His defensive improvement has rightfully won over many critics and his reading of the game is unquestionable, and surely is Scotland’s best option at 12 with the injuries.

DTH Van Der Merve 8.5- What a way to sign off, a fan’s favourite who will be sorely missed. With a typically clinical try and 93 metres gained in total, he was relentless in his hunger for the ball, typified with his steal on his own line as Zebo looked to dot down. His success starved the inform Seymour of the ball.

Finn Russell 8.5- How refreshing to see a young Scottish 10 reading a game so well. He was influential all match, stretching the Munster defence and picking the holes for himself and his firing backline. A strong kicking game too with only a couple of minor mistakes, but I think we can forgive him after an inspiring end to the campaign. Scotland look no further.

Henry Pyrgos 9- Based on that display, Cotter will have some serious explaining to do if he is to split up this halfback partnership for the World Cup. Controlled the high tempo to suit his team, with an air of calmness. Subtle, intelligent kicks in the last quarter sucked the life out a possible comeback after 60 minutes of letting his strike runners burst through the Munster lines. Wonderful performance.

Gordon Reid 6- Quiet today from the big man, apart from some monsterous clear outs on the unfortunate Munster backs. Felt he was hard done by in some of the scrums, he coped with the experienced BJ Botha very well as shown in the first few contests.

Dougie Hall 8- Perhaps a half point too high, but he is a very canny operator. Brought in to shore up the set piece from last week’s shambles, and did so admirably against fine opposition. The amount of work he gets through is sensational for a hooker, and used his vast experience to step into 9 when Pyrgos was out of the game. He should be very proud of his final game for the Warriors, I would invite anyone to microanalyse his 60 minutes.

Russouw De Klerk 6- It was always going to be tough for a prop to get a high rating from such an expansive game. Very industrious in the first half, made a number of good tackles but struggled in the scrum. Signs of tiredness early as he was brought off after 52 minutes for Jon Welsh.

Johnny Gray 8.5- Will Greenwood made comparisons to the great Paul O’Connell pre match, and it’s getting harder to argue against him. Double figures comfortably for both tackles and carries, his engine and work ethic can only be admired. At 21, the sky is the limit, especially with big match performances like that, how long can Glasgow keep hold of him?

Leone Nakarawa 9- His post match interview could’ve been following a game of touch in the park, so relaxed about the occasion says a lot about the man. 58 Offloads for the season, 5 in the match, mixed with powerful carries, great defensive pressure and 2 wonderful assists. Harley’s try was something out of nothing and he put it on a plate for him. A pure athlete and a unique player in world rugby. What a find he is, Warriors fans should be delighted he’s signed on for next year too.

Rob Harley 7- Another solid performance, it was good to see him put in a handful of strong carries, an aspect he needs to improve, especially the strong finish for his score. The back row unit as a whole were phenomenal and Harley was instrumental in disrupting Munster ball while keeping his own team’s on a platter for Pyrgos. The unseen work against the Irish provinces cannot be underestimated.

Ryan Wilson 8- After the ‘batman’ controversy, he has put some of his best shifts in for the Warriors in recent weeks. Responsible for 3 turnovers, countless ruck clearances and covering every blade of the grass; completely justified his seemingly peculiar selection. Won his battle with the impressive Paddy Butler with relative ease, and I thought you needed a proper fetcher vs Munster!

Josh Strauss 8- I cannot wait to see this man star in a Scotland top. Unsurprisingly he was top carrier, and just behind Gray Jr. in the tackle stats. Much was made of his battle with CJ Stander and he made it seem a no contest, his dismissal of his opposite man perfectly caught on camera early on set the tone for a commanding and powerful display. Front foot ball will never be an issue with this gem.

Replacements 5 – No real standout impacts coming off the bench, except the inevitable Captain Kellock leaping like a salmon to pinch a promising Munster line out. Niko’s introduction gave the odd Ulsterman something to jeer about, and Sean Lamont tried his best to get a yellow and break his own shoulder, however the game was already up and became disjointed.

SRB Man of the Match: Credit must go to Pyrgos, Russell and DTH for outstanding performances, however the was only one winner. With his unrivalled ability to offload, combined with his natural athleticism getting Glasgow way over the gain line and producing 2 moments of magic with his assists. Congratulations Leone “Andreas Iniesta” Nakarawa and the worthy champions Glasgow Warriors.

18 Responses

  1. I usually find something to disagree with in ‘player ratings’ but think you’ve got it absolutely spot on. Perhaps an 8 for Hogg? What a change from other times when I was reluctant to even read the player ratings, and when I feel certain players are getting ‘sympathy 4s, 5s, or 6s’.

  2. I think you’re being a bit ‘stingy’ with the front row marks.
    The Glasgow scrum was as solid as a rock. Reid was pushed up and out the scrum once, but only because the Munsterman prop was at 45 degreees to the scrum.
    The scrum was targeted by Munster, and they saw the set piece as their main chance. Glasgow couldn’t be budged in the scrum. The rolling maul didn’t happen and was defended well all game. In all, we matched them at the set piece, won the breakdown, and set up the platform for the backs to run riot.
    From these comments Jack, you’re behaving like one of ‘the girls’ in the backs, rather than a flanker. Shame on you. Got to be 7.5 minimum.

    1. It was telling when Munster opted to take the safe 3pts early in the second half instead of either going for a pushover/penalty try from the scrum or kicking for a lineout and rolling maul. Either of these could also have led to a YC. Munster chose the soft points because not scoring at all would kill their challenge dead – but they obviously weren’t confident they would get a try if they spurned the penalty kick.

      I do find the modern scrum incredibly frustrating. A couple of times the Munster shove came on and the Glasgow scrum didn’t budge. After an interminable wait the scrum buckled and Munster got a penalty without even winning the contest. If the ball isn’t hooked or the scrum isn’t retreating it is inevitable that sooner or later it will collapse but I can’t see how that justifies a penalty. We need a ‘use it’ call in the scrums so the ref can order the side who puts it in to hook the ball if they are going nowhere. I’d also like to see this where a scrum is won and the ball is at the 8s feet but is kept in because they are looking for a penalty, even when there is no chance of a pushover try because of their field position.

    2. Your last comment did make me chuckle, I’m glad that someone reads our mini bios. In response, I completely agree that the Glasgow pack as a whole outperformed their opposite numbers, however I felt the two props had decent performances individually but nothing warranting anything above a 6. They were on the end of some controversial calls at scrum time, as I stated. Both probably could’ve carried a bit more, especially Reid as Glasgow adopted his specialty pick and go to counter the lack of numbers Munster used at the breakdown. In my view a 6 is still a good score, but I get where you’re coming from.

  3. fOn a diferent subject, does anyone know when the Scotland squad for the world cup is announced?

  4. I thought everyone should have got a ten. With the exception of Leone who was an 11.

  5. One other person to be rated should be the man in the middle, Mr Nigel Owens. Once again another sterling shift from him, allowing the game to flow, and unafraid to ping Munster for infringing at the breakdown, tackling men off the ball etc. A 9 for me. It was in part such a good game due to his refereeing.

  6. I cannot believe I’ve finally found a forum which isn’t full of trolls and idiots (DT or Herald – take note).
    Firstly – my thanks to FF for letting me know when the squad is due to be announced. Not being on Twitter has many advantages but it does mean I miss this sort of news.
    I agree with pragmatist optimist in that the two props should’ve scored better. To hold up in the set piece against what was billed as a very good Munster pack gave the backs something to play with.
    It would have been interesting to see Munster players’ ratings too – or does Jack feel he is too parochial?

    1. As most of our time is voluntary we rarely carry out opposition ratings, indeed we only tend to do player ratings for big games anyway. The man of the match is always from the Scottish team too, so in that regard yes we are parochial, but that’s the way we roll. Welcome to the site!

  7. Disagree with the Props Ratings:
    Reid 8
    De Klerk 8
    Welsh 8

    Great to see Welsh dominating when he came on. Reid may be above Grant in the Scottish pecking order now

  8. Jack, I do agree with you about Henry Pyrgos.
    Unfortunately for him (or is it fortunately?), he was injured throughout the whole of the 6N, and was jumped in the pecking order by SHC.

    I think SHC is a great prospect, but had considered him as potential incumbent for the 2019 world cup.
    Pyrgos has the advantage of playing regularly with Russell (as Webb and Biggar do at Ospreys) and his game management is better than SHC at the moment IMO (simply more experienced).
    SHC has good pace so is more dangerous as a broken field runner, but I’m not sure that his decision making is ready for the pressure pot of the world cup.

    I agree that Cusiter is likely to lose out in the squad which is a shame.
    Like many pundits, I didn’t think Laidlaw was worthy of his place in the starting 15 during 6N. I understand he is an very accurate short range kicker( 35m or less), but although he is a good tactician, he doesn’t have enough pace for me, and his delivery is too slow.

    He does appear favoured by BVC, so he seems to be in he ‘box seat’, but it’ll be interesting to see whether BVC gives a chanve to Rusell/Pyrgos in the warm up games,with Russell as kicker.

    1. I think Laidlaw is in primarily for leadership reasons. If we had leadership options elsewhere in the pack (ie if Gilbchrist wasn’t injured) his coatpeg would become a lot more shoogly.

      1. You mention leadership but Laidlaw has never demonstrated that he can be a good leader. A leader must be a good organiser, a good player and lead by example. It must be difficult for the other players to have respect for someone who makes so many mistakes and puts the team under so much pressure with pointless Garryowen type kicks. Cusiter is a far better player and would make a far better captain. I’m sure that there would be far better potential captains in the squad than Laidlaw. I fear that this is probably the only mistake that BVC has made but it will be a costly one in the world cup. If he continues to persist with Laidlaw (and there is every chance he will despite his useless form at present) then we have no chance. The rest of the team may play quite well but with Laidlaw scoring so many OG’s against our team we will struggle against most semi decent squads. We could still beat the USA, Samoa and Japan but I just cant imagine us beating anyone else. He needs to be dropped from the squad altogether in order to give us a fighting chance.

        This thought is resonating in my mind- with an uncle who was so good at playing rugby, why is he so rubbish?

      2. That was the reason he was in the 6N squad alongside being able to cover both 9 and 10. It was all said in here during the 6N so lets not go over it. It must be very difficult for him , leading a team and knowing that he is included not necessarily for his playing skills, knowingthat the others know that and have limited confidence in him. What a burden to take into every game, he was pushing water up hill week on week. I could not do that .

        A very difficult place and he is now just making up the numbers. We should respect that. I do feel the WC will draw a line on Greg and relive him of what must be a cloud hanging over him.

      3. Bulldog- thats exactly why I think he should be dropped. Too much of a burden on him and the players find it difficult to respect such a mediocre player. I’m sure he is a nice guy but you really need to pick your best players for this ytournament.

  9. Much much too harsh on the props, shame on you Jack, You are indeed a wee lassie in the Pie Eating stakes.

    The scrum was steady all game. As I recall the Glasgow (and Edinburgh )scrums have had difficulties all season long.

    So if we were to consider what we might have expected, what could have gone wrong and what we got, I think the props did an excellent Job.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion