Scotland vs Australia: Player Ratings

Scotland put in a ruthless performance against the Wallabies at BT Murrayfield and came away with a historic win. Even with a man advantage for the whole second half, they are still some way off their best as a squad and this wasn’t even the first string… it was a great way to back up a strong performance against the All Blacks the weekend before and build out depth in the squad.

15. Sean Maitland: Was a late replacement for Stuart Hogg who pulled up injured in the warm-up. Dealt with the balls at the back well and was instrumental in several tries. Sometimes seems like a lazy runner but rapid when he gets moving. Not as quick feet as Hogg but a safe pair of hands and went looking for plenty of work – 8/10

14. Tommy Seymour: The result was great but personally he’ll want to forget this one too, the first half certainly. Missed a few tackles and couldn’t make anything happen – 6/10

Huw Jones

Huw Jones – pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

13. Huw Jones: Quiet again this week but his threat gives other players time on the ball. Took his try as well as you would expect. He’s still a class act and time gelling with the Glasgow backline could mean they’re deadly by the spring – 7/10

12. Pete Horne: Filling in for the sturdier Alex Dunbar, doubts were expressed beforehand that he would cope with Australia’s bigger runners. Said afterwards that they set a goal as a backline to not let any set piece line breaks through and seemed to succeed. He didn’t wilt though and turned the screw with some nice positional kicks in the second half. Grew into the game as it opened up – 7.5/10

11. Byron McGuigan: Almost didn’t have a chance to get nervous about his first start and it showed. A dream debut with a solo try and could have had a second inside 20 minutes. Did get it later in the game and almost snaffled a third that was illegally slapped away by Kurtley Beale. Strong ball carrying, perhaps lacked a little sharpness when the play was more structured in the first half but never less than dangerous. Will get more caps – 8.5/10

10. Finn Russell: Missed 2 penalty kicks to touch in the first half and almost missed a third (points off). When the game opened up in the second half he was his usual threat though and he helped put Australia to the sword. Not perfect, but sometimes supreme confidence gets you through even against a top side like the Wallabies – 7.5/10

9. Ali Price: Probably the perfect scrum-half for Townsend’s gameplan and he continues to deliver the pace and attitude it requires. Made almost very few mistakes and took his try brilliantly – 9/10

1. Darryl Marfo: Didn’t quite hit the levels of last weekend but still continues to be arguably the biggest diamond found in the St Andrews rough this autumn. – 7.5/10

2. Stuart McInally: Relatively new to the game, he fronted up against the hugely experienced Stephen Moore who wanted to retire on a high but Rambo came out the winner. Having gone off for a well-earned rest he then put in a second, try-scoring shift as a head-injury replacement for Fraser Brown in the last ten minutes. Fitting that he saw Scotland past the 50-point mark after a very impressive series. The tussle in the 1872 Cup with Brown could be mouth-watering – 8.5/10

3. Simon Berghan: Not an all-dominant rampage, but didn’t let anyone down badly. He is clearly the third choice tighthead at this stage but has been going well for Edinburgh so can play at this level again. Perhaps suffered in comparison to big Zander who had a monster cameo – 6.5/10

4. Grant Gilchrist: Played 50 minutes and was full of effort. Didn’t punch as many holes as he might have liked but looks like he has his confidence back – 7/10

Grant Gilchrist at the lineout

Michael Hooper wins a lineout from Grant Gilchrist during Scotland vs Australia –
pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

5. Jonny Gray: As a big game player he stepped up the efforts to exert Scottish dominance over Australia as they faded. Won’t score too many tries like that from first receiver. As usual leads not with words but with deeds – 8.5/10

6. John Barclay (capt): Another huge captain’s effort and was our Man of the Match. Tackled, jackalled and smashed his way through a sea of gold players and thoroughly deserved his score. Made sure Scotland kept the foot on the throat when lesser teams, or Scotland teams of old, would have backed off (or lost). The roar when he went over for the try shows the respect he commands from the Murrayfield faithful – 9.5/10

7. Hamish Watson: Clearly loves playing Australia, when the games are physical and a bit loose. The battle between him and Michael Hooper was superb at times and Watson came out on top. Like his back row colleagues, seemed to be everywhere which they now know is the gold standard for effort and must be maintained – 8.5/10

8. Ryan Wilson: Didn’t carry much ball in the pack’s traditional ball-carrying position but then we know he isn’t a traditional Number 8. What he did do was contribute to a dominant breakdown display and tackle anything vaguely yellow he could find – 8/10


16. Fraser Brown: A knock on the head after putting it on the wrong side of a tackle probably wasn’t the impact he had in mind. His injuries are a worry – he will have to play catch up to overhaul both Ford and McInally if he wants the starting shirt – 6/10

17. Jamie Bhatti: Made a big impact after coming on for Marfo with a couple of huge carries. Almost got one of those dream prop tries when he found himself in open space but should kick on now for Glasgow – 7.5/10

18. Zander Fagerson: Another big impact off the bench with some barnstorming runs. Even managed to reverse a collapsed scrum and push on to earn a penalty. This test series has made him wiser, and a great improvement in his approach – 8/10

19. Ben Toolis: Didn’t get much change from the Aussie defensive line but as with Gilchrist is a reliable presence and is a big influence at the set piece. Should be a close contest to partner Jonny Gray in the spring – 7/10

20. Cornell du Preez: Didn’t get into the game in his time – 6/10

21. Henry Pyrgos: His best cameo of the autumn and continued Ali Price’s high tempo approach. Bonus half point for hitting the ref – 7.5/10

22. Phil Burleigh: A late addition to the bench following Dunbar’s withdrawal but didn’t get much ball to play with when he got his first cap – 6/10

23. Ruaridh Jackson: An even later addition than Burleigh, 24th man filled in well but by then the game was well over – 6/10


76 comments on “Scotland vs Australia: Player Ratings

  1. TeamCam on

    Have we got a nickname for Bhatti yet? If not, may I suggest ‘The Bhatti-ing Ram’?

    I think McGuigan’s performance is being overrated. Yes, he scored two tries and ran over Genia a couple of times, but he kicked away possession too much (e.g. for his disallowed try when a back and forth with Russell would have worked better). I’d knock him down half a point, but other than that and a bit of generosity towards Seymour, looks pretty spot on!

    • A simple prop on

      Probably better than the “Bhatti Boy!” exclamation I inadvertently made when he made his monster line break…

    • Stu on

      I was a critic of McGuigan and I agree his first start is getting blown out of proportion – but he was great yesterday (not MOTM, WTF was Mossie thinking) never hid, constantly looked for work. Needs to work on his defence though as he fell off/missed quite a few.

  2. David McIntosh on

    Seymour was a 4 – he had an absolute stinker.

    Wilson – still don’t get it- he doesn’t offer enough in any area of the game for me. We’re crying out for a ball carrying 8.

    Gilchrist has a good game, but Toolis makes the restarts and line outs look more solid.

    Finn will never be perfect because of the game he plays but his pace onto the ball is absolutely instrumental to everything GT is trying to do. Irreplaceable.

    Has Maitland lost pace, or does it just look like it? McGuigan on current form looks like the 1st choice wing.

    But overall – what a time to be alive!

    • Stuart on

      Maitland looked like he was carrying an injury. Constant grimacing and no power in his sprint when he opened up. He was still smart enough to know when he had the legs to score for his try and when to pass for McGuigan’s second. Seymour was mentioned as having a toe injury at one point over the past few weeks which can be difficult to deal with.

      • 1.8T on

        Yeah, I thought he did himself an injury in the process of scoring, he was grimacing and stretching a lot afterwards, maybe he’s struggling a bit for fitness.

  3. Scrummo on

    Pretty much agree with all the ratings, you could change a couple a half point either way but no quibbling from me. I reckon our first choice team is starting to look like:

    1. Marfo – He’s the man in possession and has been outstanding. Are Sutherland or Dickinson better players? Maybe but they’ll need to prove it between now and February.

    2. McInally – He’s clearly ahead of Brown for me at the moment, he’s reliable in every area and impressive in several and has a better head on his shoulders than Brown.

    3. Nel/Fagerson – Happy with either here to be honest, Nel needs to stay fit but Fagerson never lets us down and will grow and grow with gametime.

    4. Toolis – Awesome series and key part of the line out.

    5. J.Gray – Grew throughout the series and answered some questions about fronting up.

    6. Barclay – Leads from the front, proper captain.

    7. Watson – Hope Hardie comes back from his suspension to push Hamish who is top, top class.

    8. Wilson – I think Wilson did enough and we know Toony likes him. Though I would prefer to see one of Du Preez, Denton, Bradbury or Strauss here, basically a ball carrier.

    9. Price – Looks like the game plan is made for him and continues to get better with each cap.

    10. Russell – Key player who makes us tick and remains irreplacable.

    11. Maitland – I reckon he’s underrated, very rarely makes mistakes and makes the right decisions.

    12. Dunbar – Think he is so important to our defence and adds power but I’d love to see a fully fit Taylor linking up with Jones in the future.

    13. Jones – Just so dangerous, must terrify opposing defences.

    14. Seymour – He’s had two shockers and we now have Lee Jones and McGuigan adding their names to the list of class wingers we have to choose from which previously amounted to Maitland, Seymour himself and Visser so will need to up his game.

    15. Hogg – Who else?

    Leaves us a bench with:

    Nel/Fagerson/ Berghan/Welsh
    Wilson or Any of the ball carriers listed above
    Laidlaw/Pyrgos (will G.Horne be pushing them by 6N time?)
    Taylor, Scott or one of the wingers above.

    If everyones fit we’ll have one hell of a bench for once as with the possible exception of the half backs any of those players could be in the argument to start.

      • FF on

        Yes, Bennett is fast turning into the forgotten man of Scottish rugby now that Jones is the new golden boy. Desperately hope he’ll be back in top form.

    • Sotonsaltire on

      If Brown is fit he is very important to Glasgow and Scotland I think. Glasgow’s scrum is immeasurably better when he is on the field so, if fit, he will push McInally hard for the Wales game.

      Brilliant display yesterday but we do lack a traditional ball carrier in the back row. Suppose the question is do we need one if Gray, Gilchrist, Toolis, Bhatti and Fagerson carry the way they have been (plus Dunbar)? Ryan Wilson gets a huge amount of stick on this forum – I think he is a good player and understands the concept of Townsend rugby so I would imagine, if fit, he will start somewhere in the back-row for the foreseeable. I have no complaints with a Barclay/Watson/Wilson back row after the AIs.

      Agree that if everyone fit (big if!) we have the best depth we have had in the professional era. Good times at last – can’t wait for Cardiff!

      • 1.8T on

        That’s what I’m thinking about ball carriers. Toonie wants a mobile pack that can run around for 80mins and tackle anything that moves, and rely on that to open gaps rather than smash through. It’s the rapier vs sledgehammer approach. Wilson fits that description perfectly which is probably why he likes him so much. With the front row being pretty adept at carrying it negates the need for a “big 8” somewhat. I like what he’s doing with having a big guy on the bench.

        On horses for courses I think we need to start taking the view that we will play the game how WE want and the opposition should have to adapt. Maybe that’s a bit arrogant but I don’t see why we have to say “oh well England play 10 man rugby so that’s how we’ll have to play this weekend”.

    • David McIntosh on

      Brilliant servants both, but I suspect Ford and Laidlaw will find it increasingly difficult to get game time. Laidlaw’s service has always been slow and quick ball is the cornerstone of GT’s game plan. Ford just doesn’t offer as much around the park as either Brown or McInally, and his arrows are worse. Neither of them are impact players so they don’t really suit the bench.

      • The Chiel on

        Also Finn has now proven he’s an international class place kicker.
        Nothing against Laidlaw, who has always given his best and as a reward just seemed to get pelters, but time moves on.

      • FF on

        Think laidlaw is still much better than Pyrgos but both are on borrowed time until Horne has the experience to break through. Price is outstanding at the moment and Horne has the potential to be an absolute nightmare for opponents when he comes in at 60mins.

      • Stu on

        Pyrgos is still slower and kicks badly – I see no reason why Laidlaw cant make the bench. The 6Ns is too early for G Horne – but he and Price are the future in my book.

        I notice we are only touring USA and Canada next summer – we really need to get back onto proper tours of SANZAR.

      • Ian on

        Greig is 32. Half back is where you get found out most for deficiencies in the personnel in front of you. So all things considered I reckon he has done a great job over the last few years. It looks like he will now move into the role of closer from the bench in his twilight years and I think he will be great at this. Greig has a fabulous rugby brain and I can see him captaining/organising out tight games in a way that we have lacked previously. Well see how it goes….but for him personally the goal should be RWC2019 – and if in the meantime he gets overhauled by George Horne or SHC then that is probably good news for the team.

      • Bulldog on

        Take a look at Warriors TV highlights, Hastings hand and foot work looks impressive. I am pleased Turner and Gibbons are on our side. Bonecrushers in the tackle and whippets in the loose.

      • Fraser on

        Watched the Glasgow highlights – my god that looked like a messy game. Lots of errors (from both teams), particularly in the first half and looked like 7s rugby for a lot of it the way they were throwing the ball around – mostly with predictable results. Some cracking tries but the young guys maybe haven’t learned when to throw the low percentage pass or iffy offload the way the more senior players seem to have mastered this year.
        The full game might give a different impression of course.

        I particularly liked the Ospreys running the length of the pitch (at around 50 seconds) only for the last man to do the weirdest half dive on contact far too far away from the line. Geninuinely laughed out loud. Worth a watch.

  4. Andy Slow on

    Delighted to back up last week’s performance with a great win yesterday. Ok a win against 14, but we turned the screw which is very pleasing to see. It’s great to see that in our mentality now as I doubt Scotland sides of old would’ve taken advantage of the situation.

    Ratings sound about right to me. Really impressed with Bhatti and Fagerson when they came on. Watson may well turn into our best player – a breakaway forward who reminds me of our back row players of old. Tough as teak. Honourable mention to Pete Horne – defended valiantly against two huge men.

    Overall a good Autum. We’re getting there. Bring on the 6 nations….

    • Scrummo on

      I thought Bhatti and Fagerson were superb as well. Really hope that Glasgow can get Brown fully fit and mould the three into a good scrummaging unit. If they can’t then the Scotland bench beckons as Edinburgh have a seriously strong unit with Nel, McInally and any of the four looseheads who will lock down the starting positions.

      I think McInally will be a fixture at hooker for us now, in fact I think he may end up being our captain when Barclay retires. In comparison to Brown he just has such a steady head on his shoulders, Brown is great at his best but has shown an unpleasant inclination towards the brainfart.

      • Bulldog on

        McInally appears to have got the line out throw in timing and accuracy better than Brown or 110 cap Ross Ford. It is early days but Turner appears to be every bit as accurate. On that alone I admire McInally.

        The front 5 is such a technical position that we are not able to judge. Best to ask them to pick themselves. The latest fad , the ref saying ‘show me a picture’, makes me smile. Granted it is the best they can do, so lets not be sore on the ref.

        The moment it starts it is all move and countermove, they blow up on what they see be it original sin or counter play.

        When does it start ? It could be just the body language when shaping up or after engaged, or the obvious visible tactics or thuggery, bit who did what first, only they know. Front rows know exactly what I mean and the rest of you can just ignore me. It is raw instinct.

        But based on what we see , hard to look past McInally and that will annoy the Scotstoun faithful as Brown is a popular guy, he fits into the warrior culture and right now, if it wasn’t for bad luck, he would have no luck at all.

      • Pio on

        Re: McInally or Brown – horses for courses I would say and it’s good that we have options at Hooker who have more workrate than Ford. McInally better doing grunt work and really good carrier. Brown better over the ball and better open field runner. For me at the minute it should be Rambo for 60 minutes and Brown when the game opens up.

  5. IMac on

    What an amazing performance but scrum is still so creaky and no obvious solutions to make it less so… so we must play accordingly and not choose to scrum when we have a penalty in front of the posts … we lost scrums against 14 man NZ and Australia …. just give it to Ali tap and go
    On the subject of Maitland his positioning and rugby brain are top class.. he was selfless giving McGuigan his 2nd try but all over the pitch he constantly makes the right calls in attack and defence… you don’t get to be Saracens best winger without real class and he showed it today and should be nailed on as a stater when fit

    • Jamie B on

      Honestly, in the 6N I would rest Finn Russell in the Italy game and play a backline like this

      9.Ali Price
      10.Stuart Hogg
      11.Tommy Seymour
      12.Alex Dunbar
      13.Huw Jones
      14.Lee Jones
      15.Sean Maitland

      (Hogg at 10 for his experience, as Italy are a team to watch sometimes and exciting play could be the weapon we need, another option could be either to have Hastings starting or coming off the bench for the second half)

      • Rosco on

        Rest Finn for the odd friendly and give likes of Hastings some international experience. But maybe for Italy have Finn on Bench and Adam playing if he’s getting good game time at Glasgow between now and February.

      • Stu on

        FFS would you listen to yourself. We finally put a couple of performances together and you’re sounding like the most arrogant English supporter.

      • Tryhard on

        We do need to look at other options at 10 before the WC but I don’t think the 6 nations is the place to do it. February will be too early for Hastings and Hogg has only started one game there for Glasgow.

        Italy are no pushovers with O’Shea in charge and their Pro 14 teams have improved a lot this season. Resting our key players in Rome is an almost guaranteed banana skin.

        The ideal place to get a look at some of the younger players is the summer tour next year. We’re playing Canada and USA so would be great to try out Hastings, Kinghorn, G Horne etc then if they continue to improve. We need a full squad with international experience by the RWC and since these tests are essentially throwaways seems like the perfect opportunity

      • Big Al on

        Next summers tour to North America is the time for testing out some new players. Could easily see Horne/Hastings getting a start in those games.

      • Pio on

        Yup the summer tour should be used to blood the young guns. IMO nobody with more than 20 caps should tour unless they have missed part of the season due to injury. (Bennett, Scott, Denton etc.)

        Time to bring Bradbury, Ritchie, Cummings, Horne, Hastings, Rae, Fagerson jnr, etc. through and get Bennett back into the fold

      • JohnMc on

        Guessing there’s some sort of lag effect around form and IRB rankings when these overseas tours are being timetabled. Easy to see the Scotland of old having to go to North America to find someone to play in our summer. But Scotland, now, going to NA a year before the RWC? A pretty poor France getting a three Test tour this summer against a pretty poor South Africa side? France, who send about nine supporters abroad to the SH tours when we would send hundreds at least, not counting expatriate supporters? When will our overseas touring programme catch up with the last two years’ resurgence?

  6. FF on

    What a fantastic autumn series – really hope we can kick in in 6N and having England at Murrayfield is a great opportunity. Think Gatland, Schmidt and Jones won 6N in their first series…let’s hope Toonie joins the club!

    Best thing is in a bunch of positions not clear what pecking order is as so many players put their hands up.

  7. Millboy on

    Scotlands discipline has been excellent this AIs don’t think there has been a yellow card in the 3 games maybe that’s why we leaked a few more try’s than we would’ve liked but your not going to beat the better teams a man down.

  8. Fraser on

    Probably the most I’ve disagreed with your ratings (england game aside).

    Maitland was solid but looked very slow and didn’t offer a lot in broken play or returning kicks. He played ok but was a 6.5/7 for me.
    Seymour was sadly very poor so a 6 is generous, 5 more realistic.
    Huw Jones 8.5, for me a lot of people are underrating his performances and contribution to the game.
    Horne 7 at most and there’s no way he deserves to score higher than Jones
    Russell I thought was extremely sharp and saw things others wouldn’t have. Yes his touch kicking radar was a bit off, but still an 8.

    Forwards, not far off. Knock half a point off Barclay and give it to Watson.

    Subs – Pyrgos is just too slow at ruck time, 6.

    There’s going to be a selection headache come 6 nations if everyone is fit – obviously there’s a lot of rugby to be played before then and things may change a lot. Will be interesting to see how much Townsend goes with reputation and experience and how much he goes with form shown in these games and for club.

    For me, injuries aside it’s

    1. Marfo (done enough to edge it but could interchange with Dickinson)
    2 Mcinally
    3 Nel
    4 J Gray
    5 Toolis
    6 Barclay
    7 Watson
    8 Wilson
    9 Price
    10 Russell
    11 Lee Jones
    12 Dunbar
    13 Huw Jones
    14 McGuigan
    15 Hogg
    16 Dickinson
    17 Brown
    18 Fagerson
    19 R Gray
    20 Hamilton
    21 G Horne
    22 Taylor
    23 Jackson cover 10/15

    Laidlaw and Ford I’m afraid have had their time.

    8 is our weakest position, need to develop/find another option.
    Subs are probably a bit controversial but P Horne isn’t quite good enough in my opinion. No winger on the bench either.

    I’m sure many won’t agree but That’s why I’m not Scotland coach!

  9. Not rocket science on

    We will never have fully fit team to pick from, but for fun:
    Nel, McInally, Marfo, Gray, Toolis, Watson, Barclay, Du Preez, Price, Russell, Dunbar, Jones, Seymour, Hogg, McGuigan
    Fagerson, Brown, Bhatti, Gray, Gilchrist, Hardie, Wilson, Hamilton, Pyrgos, Horne, Bennett, Taylor, Jones, Maitland, Visser
    Berghan, Ford, Sutherland, Swinson, Cummings, Bradbury, Strauss, Denton, Laidlaw, Hastings, Scott, Grigg, Hoyland, Jackson, Kinghorn

    I think that B team would run the A team very close. And this omits the likes of G Horne, Darcy Graham, Carmeron Redpath (someone have a word), Jamie Ritchie, Hunter-Hill who should push on. As well as the sudden depth at loose head- Dickinson and Dell. Also Edinburgh need to get Hardie back playing as he is world class – end of.

    I found wing most difficult to pick and you could swap in Maitland, Jones, Visser, Taylor with little discernible drop in quality. I’d prob have Maitland over Seymour until he’s properly rested or McGuigan yesterday’s performance notwithstanding, but that would have thrown out the balance of the B team.

    Cannot wait for England at Murrayfield!

    P.s. I see Glasgow battered the Ospreys.

    • Neil on

      Welsh, Turner, Dell, Bresler, Hunter – Hill, Ritchie, Ashe, Cowan, Horne, Weir, Burleigh, Johnstone, Fife, Hughes, Brown.

      Anyone dare to try make an E Team ?

      60 players for scotland so far

      • Neil on

        Ok thought i would be crazy and dare myself to go for it.
        Low , Cochrane, Dickinson, Harley, Mckenzie , Smith, Fagerson, Fusaro, Hidalgo-Clyne, Henderson, Dean, Harris, Farndale, Bryce, Graham.

        If anyone can name an F team then well done to you as i was really scraping the barrell here.

      • Martin on

        I’ll throw some left fields at you:
        Murray Douglas (Hurricanes)
        Finlay Christie (Hurricanes)
        Ben Vellacot (Gloucester)
        Scott Steele (London Irish)
        Lachlan Coote (NQ Cowboys)
        Lewis Tierney (Catalan Dragons)
        Lewis Carmichael (Western Force)
        Alex Toolis (Melbourne Rebels)
        Ryan Brierley (Toronto Wolfpacks)
        Ihaia West (Auckland Blues)

  10. Big Al on

    For all those questioning Wilson at 8 I think the blend in the back row is pretty good at the moment. Before the game the Australians were talking about Scotland being the best rucking team in the world at the moment and they could be right. The plan seems to be to get the front five to make the hard carries and then the back row follow them in to the breakdown to generate quick ball for the backs. Its working. We don’t need a bash it up 8 in that scenario.

    • Stu on

      There will come times during all of our 6Ns when we will need a hard carrying 8 – if only to relieve pressure. Wilson isn’t that player – he’s one of those generic backrowers much beloved by modern coaches. I think Scotland play best we have a proper balance in the back row.

  11. Big Al on

    The scrum half position is getting interesting. Price is nailed on to start. Horne played really well again this afternoon against Ospreys and it wont be long before he’s rated above Pyrgos. Difficult to see Laidlaw getting back in to the team given the speed that they game plan requires.

    We just need to clone Russell now. Stand-off seems to be the only position where we are really struggling for a top class alternative at the moment. I can see Hastings getting quite a bit of game time in the coming months for Glasgow to see if he can make it while Russell is looked after.

    • Mikelinds on

      Agree, need plenty game time for Hastings. Wrap Finn in cotton wool for the 6N and Pro 14 close. Weeg did the business again today!!!

      • FF on

        Hastings was MoM today I think? Big Russell shaped hole next year – will be a godsend for Glasgow and Scotland if Hastings comes good.

    • Not rocket science on

      Going a tournament without Russell would be a massive blow, but if you still have Price, Jones, Hogg fit, and one of Taylor/Dunbar to bring some heft outside him, then I’d back Horne to come in at stand off against anyone in the world. Prefer him there to inside centre where he is more of a target.

  12. john on

    The boys were a credit to themselves yesterday……….however we were playing a team who were happy to play an open chaotic style.
    When it comes to the 6N teams will look to close us down, keep it tight, strangle us (keep it away from Hogg/Russell)
    So it’ll be horses for courses…………… Du Preez/Denton/Bradbury & their extra beef will be very handy against the Vunipolos / Hughes of the world.
    Hope Hardie is back on the paddock soon too

    • JohnMc on

      Completely agree about the different nature of challenge to be faced in the next 6N.
      Coaching teams of Ireland and England in particular will be assiduously studying Scotland’s AI matches. Wouldn’t be surprised if they conclude, right we’ll just outmuscle the Jocks like we nearly always do, keep it tight, deny them possession, and grind the life out of them. This would be an understandable, ‘ it’s worked before v Scotland’ approach.
      Yet, apart from some obvious scrum time problems for us in these AIs, I never saw our eight outmuscled by either NZ or Aus at any time. In fact, our rucking, other breakdown work and driving mauls were notable successes.
      This makes me think Toonie and co are developing the techniques and strengths in this squad to be able to take on and overcome any oppo who want to reduce the game to an 8 v 8 slugfest. Let’s face it, all the very best sides in the history of the game have shown they can mix it and spray it as and when required.
      If we can take this extreme high tempo attack approach from 9 to 15 into the 18 6N, and underpin it with a pack capable of negating opponents’ bludgeon tactics deployed because ‘Hey, that’s how you beat the Scots when they try all this fancy stuff.’, then this will be a good 6N.
      To do that, we have to get our scrum sorted out once and for all. It killed us in Paris this year, and Eng and Ire will target it big time next year. All else seems to be well in hand, as we showed in these AIs.
      And well done to Glasgow today. A clear sign that intelligent recruitment and development of Academy graduates can keep at least one Pro side competitive during the Test match windows. Just hope Embra can deliver against the other SA club next weekend.

      • Big Al on

        The holiday derby games will be very interesting. The Edinburgh pack will likely deploy bludgeon tactics to try and nullify the Glasgow attack. It could be very good preparation for the 6 nations. Hope there aren’t any injuries as a consequence though.

  13. Gilmour on

    I can’t believe the negativity on these comments. This is one of the greatest displays of open rugby with belief, commitments, aggression and team work you a ever likely to see.

    Perfection, which would appear to be the consensus that all the comments elude to isn’t going to happen in a rugby match.

    Are you never happy! It wasn’t very long ago at all that we couldn’t beat Italy.

    For once be happy with a fantastic Scottish side.

    • Robert Murray on

      Totally agree. If someone had given us these results before the autumn internationals we would’ve thought them mad!

      Well done lads.

    • Stu on

      I think you need to watch the game again.

      By all means enjoy our fantastic play – but if we are to contest the 6Ns and RWC we must also look at the weaknesses, it’s what good teams do.

  14. Dougie C on

    I think you gave Tommy Seymour 6 points for walking on the pitch. He was woeful from first to last. Dropped everything. Missed tackled. Closed space. You should be willing to award 3 even in victory.

  15. Gary on

    Seymour was terrible again so very generous there. Horne missed 4 tackles as he normally does so pretty generous there. I’d mark Gilchrist a 6 not a 7, he started well but gassed quite quickly was noticeably tired and spent a lot of time in the backline seagulling considerably lower work rate overall than Toolis (But he carried well and made his tackles). Also for the first time in a while our lineout looked shaky when Toolis was off the field we actually lost 2 for the first time in a long while. They looked mint again when he came on and in my opinion proved he’s a superior player and with experience and a bit more confidence at test level has a higher ceiling than any of the other locks! Other than that player ratings are quite good probably would give Huw Jones higher as well cos he’s listed at below Horne lol.

  16. 1.8T on

    Watched the match again last night. Huw Jones deserves all the plaudits he got, he made ground basically every time he got the ball, ran some great lines and seemed to attract the attention of the Aussies any time the ball went near him. Horne was also pretty good, lot of nice touches and that kick to touch was lovely. He made a few weak / missed tackles but he isn’t Dunbar. Agree with Gary above, Gilchrist was ok but tired quickly, Toolis looked good again when he came on. I think one of the lineout losses was just an excellent steal by the Aussies.

    Even Guscott is waxing lyrical about us this morning! The mans an idiot, he praises us for exciting attack, and calls Ireland a bunch of dour grafters yet picks Murray and Sexton (as he always does).

    • Jock in Paddyland on

      I watched both RTE coverage and Scrum V over the weekend. For once there was respect from the Irish and Welsh (if somewhat begrudging) for Scotland’s AI efforts and recognition that they will be “in the mix” for the 6N this year coming.

      It was truly a great performance from Scotland over the AIs and it’s such a change since the days when they just couldn’t score tries. I don’t understand the criticism levelled at some players, for example, Maitland, who does the business week after week for the European champions, when he’s fit. He may not have scored as many tries for Scotland as some others, but there’s much more to the game than just finishing tries. Seymour was the only player who didn’t give of his best, so let’s hope he finds form again before the 6N.

  17. Angerine on

    Going into Statto mode for a second:

    These players just scored more tries in one match against Australia (Australia!) than Scotland managed in any full 6 Nations tournament between 2002 and 2015.

    (Except for 2005, when we managed exactly 8.)

    The change has been extraordinary. Literally every time we have the ball in the opposition half, they look under extreme pressure.

    Totally agree on Ali Price as MoM, Jonny Gray is adding aggression to his game and STILL giving us quick ball in the ruck, Watson is impossibly strong and everybody seems to be playing beyond themselves for Townsend.

  18. Alanyst on

    Rankings out….84.1 which is higher than when we went 5th back in June. Not sure if its a record or not, but I imagine so.

    A loss by SA this weekend will see us start the 6N in 5th. Also, there’s a definite 3 pt gap to Wales in 7th…so 3rd seed is assured.

    • JohnMc on

      Wouldn’t argue with rankings 1 and 2, NZ and England respectively. Interesting that only two and a bit points separate third (Ireland) and us in sixth. This seems about right. The margin of Saturday’s win dragged the Wallabies down to fourth and ‘promoted’ Ireland to third. If Wales beat SA this weekend, I think we will go fifth.

      I know rankings don’t count for much now the RWC draw has been made, but it’s so pleasing to see us in the top 5/6 rather than something like ninth or tenth three years ago.

      Given SA’s current plight, Ireland weren’t really stretched in these AIs and I wonder (hope, really) it might mean they’re somewhat undercooked for the 6N. They’re boring, frankly, but very effective nonetheless. Their style reminds me of South Africa at their best in the past – brutal, lots of kicking and chasing, set piece dominance. Dunno who I’d like to see us beat more away – them or Wales. Ideally both!

      If we can deliver the necessary grunt up front to complement the pace and skill behind, we could be looking at two big away wins this coming 6N.

      Thing is, I reckon that’s what the coaching team and players are thinking too, and with better reason to do so than for ages. It’s not wildly misplaced optimism but a real possibility for the first time in a long time.

      I said on this blog before the 17 6N that I believed we could throw a spanner into the works of those who were complacently predicting an Ireland England Grand Slam showdown in Dublin. We did that by stunning Ireland at Murrayfield.

      Not wishing to tempt fate, but as various forums are all talking about an Eng Ire Twickenham Slam showdown next year, all I’ll say is I think we’ll be an even more troublesome spanner next year.

      Come on, Scotland!

  19. Bulldog on

    Hate rating players, I prefer team work, but on Maitland , I was not up for bringing him into the starting 15 at all. I am pleased to admit , I was well wrong.

    I thought he did the ‘ traditional ‘ full back role well. He did that dependable (not always glorious) last line of defense job, adequately. All the more credit considering it is not his chosen position at club or country.

    I felt secure with him at the back the whole match!! He kept out of it and we attacked through other options. As the Aussies lined up for the attacking back three with Hogg at 1st or 2nd receiver , they were flat footed by it all and the rest is now glorious history.

    Maitland did what he needed to do well. I cannot put a number on that , but appreciated what he did and how everyone else adapted.

    • Mikelinds on

      That is very well put Bulldog. We don’t need everyone to have electric pace, one or two who know how to be in the right place at the right time are a huge asset. There is a great deal more structure there than meets the eye.

  20. Warks Scot on

    Bit late on the comments board but been revelling in it for a couple of days. This is the sort of game that used to happen TO Scotland until fairly recently & no guarantees that we would have beaten 14 men. Hopefully those days are past (hope Embras performance this weekend was an aberration, lots of huff and puff to start but zero cutting edge when needed in the 22. Don’t know how Tovey managed to play even for 5 minutes after being mown down, unbelievably late “tackle”). Interesting that tries came from front row, second row, back row, half back, wing, centre & full-back – house!! Shows that the whole team were on fire. Thought Wilson did well, especially restarts, though do think other games will call for more obvious bulk at 8. Just need the SRU to find enough in their coffers to employ the worlds best scrummaging coach, to be shared with the 2 Pro teams too.

    • Mikelinds on

      I think it’s a front row coach specifically we need, the raw talent appears to be there and Fagerson and Bhatti are excellent in the loose, young yes, but time to man up a bit in the day job, so, ‘mentoring’ WPN and Dicko who at their best were excellent, perhaps.

      Be a bit surprised if it’s not happening already TBH.

  21. greengumbo on

    Managed to catch up on the game – great result !
    Some excellent performances as well. I kept a close eye on the back row and all performed superbly. Wilson is not always eye catching but his work rate is phenomenal and he had a cracking game.

    Gilchrist looked to have a solid game making a few decent yards at crucial points. McInally was superb. He was grinning his way to the line in that final try….he knew it was happening well in advance.

    Thought McGuigan looked excellent. Fast and aggressive with great strength to knock out of tackles. Seymour is a class player but looks a bit spent and needs a recharge at the moment. He’ll be back to his best for the 6N.

    I do think we are a long way from the finished product. Finn needs to sort out the touch kicks as they can really drain the confidence of the team. The one that just went the wrong way of the try line flag was silly after the amount of graft that had been put into that phase of play. Less is more !

    He does serve up some outrageously good stuff though…that glance up and switch pass to Jones for his try was excellent. Huw runs such great lines and looks like he’s straight out of a NZ team with his strength, swerve and strike running. What a gem of a player. He makes so much space for those around him as well.

    Ali Price was superb today.

    I think we need to calm down with the 6N predictions though. We still make too many silly errors when its tight and our pick and go defence needs work. We are getting there but this was against 14 men (albeit without our best player) and we still conceded some silly tries. In the past we might have still struggled against 14 so it’s progress but Wales and Ireland away and England at home are far bigger challenges than this Oz side.

    Having said all that…….53pts ya beauty !!!

    • JohnMc on

      One last thing from me on the Wallabies match. Playing it back instead of watching live on tv – shouting, screaming and swearing at the telly by focusing too much on our mistakes drives my wife out of the living room – is much more enlightening.
      What struck me on playback was the sheer speed with which everything was executed by Scotland. Recycling, rush defence, distribution and running lines in attack. Ultra high pace, not forced and frantic as per earlier Scotland sides, and carried out with confidence in each other.
      Not flawless by any means, but there were many occasions when we moved the ball and changed our running lines at such pace that it reminded me of watching the All Blacks at their peak in phases of play where they completely bewilder and disorient defences.
      Makes me even more certain that sides like Ireland and Wales will try to strangle the life out of us rather than take us on at this game style. I’ve huge respect for Jones and England – they’re capable on a good day of strangling and playing wide at pace. Respect, but not fear, mind.
      Anyway, I’m trusting in Toonie to have this side fully ready to counter whatever tactics our 6N opponents choose to use.
      Can’t wait for February now…..

      • Mikelinds on

        I sort of expect Wales to take the challenge on. They are trying to move away from Warrenball, and I expect him to be very tempted to try to show us they are better at high tempo than we are.

        Ireland, that’s a quite different story. We will need a very smart game plan that day.

  22. Colin Carr on

    The AI games certainly show the good and not so good of Scottish rugby. I do not believe that any of the 2018 6N games will be easy, as whereas in the past teams expected to beat Scotland, now they will get a perverse incentive from being up against the team everyone ‘has to beat’ in order to gain any rugby credibility. GT now has to coach for games with the accolade ‘favourites’ in mind. Yes we can run every other team off their feet, but some of the opposition will only be cowed if we can also run over them. Exciting times.

  23. Gilmour on

    Interesting comment from Warks Scot regarding front 5 scoring. This is something that I am very pleased wit. I do not think for a minute that it just happened because they were on fire (and I am sure Warks Scot would agree) this is something that they have trained for and it is long over due. I think it seems to be a mental thing with most sides including International sides, that great lolloping forwards can not take or give a pass and certainly they can’t score tries.

    Gregor Townsend is addressing a lot of taboos. The other is he is running the team flat out for 80 mins and that works really really well.

    By the way about those who have been critical about Saturday. Next time and sincerely believe we will have a next time we hammer a side. Allow yourselves to ENJOY the performance for at least a week before you start to rip the side apart.

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