The Townsend era begun in exotic Singapore with a fine victory over Italy. Here is how the players rated:
Duncan Taylor (8) – Out of position at full back but looked calm and composed and broke the line with his carries. Even kicked a conversion!
Damien Hoyland (8) – Very busy afternoon, solid first up tackling and a good finish for Scotland’s 5th try.
Matt Scott (6) – Had a quiet afternoon at 13 in a position he hasn’t featured as much in for Scotland, didn’t seem to gel with Dunbar but solid enough. Not much carrying from the midfield all game.
Alex Dunbar (6) – A horrible pass off Bradbury’s shoulder cost Scotland a try, but was effective otherwise in his usual role of defensive leader.
Tim Visser (7) – Mad a sublime full stretch catch for his try that most cricketers would be proud of, and carried well. Definitely didn’t fancy trying too hard to stop Campagnaro though when the Italian broke free for their first try.
Finn Russell (9) – Finn’s ‘Mad House Party’ was in full flow, with the usual combination of chip kicks, insane flicks and some big hits deployed in a highly entertaining 54 minutes. Has got a lovely black eye to match Hoggy as well but will hopefully be ready to face the Wallabies.
Ali Price (8) – Pure pace and energy all game from Price, a constant threat. Scotland looked markedly less like scoring when he came off. If Townsend wants to play super high tempo rugby, Price is the man.
Allan Dell (7) – Solid in the loose, and the scrum went very well all game.
Ross Ford (8) – Standard 6/10 from Ross… Wait? He did what?! Oh, okay. The big man doubled his career try total with 2 decent finishes but doubts about his darts remain. Looked to be absolutely puffed after 30 minutes such was the humidity in Singapore.
WP Nel (7) – Good comeback in difficult conditions. Carried hard, tackled well and scrum was solid. Good day at the office for his second game back.
Tim Swinson (6) – Lots of grunt work, but nothing really spectacular. Perhaps better suited as an ‘Impact Sub’?
Ben Toolis (9) – Carried his exceptional form into the international arena. Solid line out, excellent maul defence and carried really well. My Man of the Match.
John Barclay (capt) (7) – Communicated very well with referee, and continues to look the part as skipper. Worked very hard to shut down a potent Italian backrow and did a lot of carrying first half.
Ryan Wilson (7) – A late replacement for John Hardie, who as predicted injured himself, this time without the help of the opposition. Wilson was abrasive but not at his best.
Josh Strauss (7) – Some big carrying got the backs lots of front foot ball. However, the bearded wonder tired badly as the game went on before Bradbury replaced him.
Fraser Brown (7) – A solid cameo, and I would still suggest first choice at hooker despite the mini-Ford renaissance.
Gordon Reid (6) – Pretty anonymous including an early spell as a blood replacement, aside from a cheeky trademark pick and go.
Zander Fagerson (7) – We now have two genuine options at tighthead! The Glasgow prop worked incredibly hard about the paddock and is a real menace at the breakdown. Scrum may even have improved when he came on.
Rob Harley (6) – Nothing much of note – he made tackles but really can’t be considered an option at lock. Lewis Carmichael has been called up from the Western Force to join the squad perhaps in recognition of this.
Magnus Bradbury (6) – Couldn’t get space to work his magic. Looked solid enough though and was the usual physical presence.
Henry Pyrgos (6) – Steady from Henry, but the pace really did drop when he arrived. Made enough of a nuisance of himself to get Braam Steyn sin-binned.
Pete Horne (6) – Had a decent half hour but the drop off in quality from Russell was clear today.
Rory Hughes (5) – Added late on to the bench after Hardie pulled up. Hughes didn’t touch the ball but was defensively exposed for the second Italian try. Luckily by then the game was long finished as a contest.