Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


1872 Cup Pt I: Glasgow Player Ratings

Glasgow Lineout
Jonny Gray secures the lineout during the 1872 Cup - pic © Al Ross

A third disappointing loss in a row for Glasgow which will lead to head coach Dave Rennie once again thinking: “How the hell did that happen?”

15. Ruaridh Jackson: with all due respect to the regally-moustached Monsieur Jackson, you wonder why he bothered playing at stand-off for so long, as he’s so much better at full-back. Ran well from deep, some nice link play and was never to blame when Glasgow failed in attack or defence. 7/10
14. Tommy Seymour: after some recent disappointing displays, looked a bit more like himself in the 50mins he played. Patented weaving run off the back of a set-piece to create the first try, showed some nice dancing feet, but can still be better. 6.5/10
13. Huw Jones: electric start with an early try, but from then on failed to spark. Didn’t get the chance to impose himself on game, and threw a couple of loose passes. Only gets over 5 for the try. 5.5/10
12. Alex Dunbar: surprisingly withdrawn after 50mins. Typically solid in defence, bar one slipped tackle, and at the breakdown, also made a couple of searing breaks. 7/10
11. Lee Jones: shouldn’t have tried to keep up with the other Jones. Usually reliable, but had hee-haw to get involved in attack wise, then gave away silly penalty at the end that proved so costly. 5/10
10. Peter Horne: another that started brightly, then blew a fuse. Kicked too quickly, and poorly, from hand after Edinburgh were reduced to 14, giving possession away or not finding touch, rather than show patience and wait for space to create itself. 4/10
9. Ali Price: indifferent display from the scrum-half. Lovely delay on pass to Seymour for the first try, but was a bit indisciplined thereafter. 5/10
1. Jamie Bhatti: performed reasonably at scrum-time, I reckon he was 1-1 individually on the few penalties awarded, decent defensive work-rate, but none of the wrecking-ball bustle in attack we saw during the Autumn internationals. 5/10
2. Fraser Brown: one missed arrow, but otherwise was very good for Glasgow. In the early stages him and Dunbar seemed to simultaneously assault every break-down, Brown carried well, and produced one sumptuous off-load in the first-hand. 7/10
3. Zander Fagerson: quiet evening really. Similar to Bhatti. Did manage to avoid handbags, bar a verbal joust with MacInally. 5/10
4. Scott Cummings: the youngster continues to impress. Good game awareness for his try, solid at set-piece and didn’t seem to do much wrong otherwise. 7/10
5. Jonny Gray (c): new contract, vintage Jonny performance. Tackled everything, hit every breakdown, close-quarter gains, and he even played scrum-half at one point. Didn’t deserve to be on losing side. 8/10
6. Rob Harley: the almost forgotten man of the back-row, the lack of game time seems to have affected the big fella’s destructive prowess. Missing the obscene line-speed and breakdown smashing that previously made him indispensable. 5/10
7. Matt Smith: buzzed around with menace and intent at the breakdown early on, but faded just as Glasgow did. Took an early knock in the second half, and was replaced just after an hour. 5/10
8. Samuela Vunisa: powerful performance from the Fij-italian, provided some real oomph that the Warriors miss when the fancy stuff isn’t clicking. 7/10


16. Pat MacArthur: unused (suprising considering Brown took a kick to the head in the 5th minute! – Ed.)
17. Oli Kebble: his arrival in close proximity with Halanukonuka led to Glasgow starting to exert scrum dominance, but showed little else. 5/10
18. Siua Halanukonuka: see above, but he did get involved in one very nice move involving Finn and Jackson. 5.5/10
19. Kiran McDonald: played about 40 secs. No score
20. Chris Fusaro: replaced Smith, forced turnover pen but little else to impact. 5/10
21. Henry Pyrgos: the “closer” was sharp enough to the breakdown and getting the passes out, but nothing spectacular. 6/10
22. Finn Russell: in a game that was screaming “this needs some Finn magic”, there were flashes of the majestic, one particularly sublime chip-kick and swap of passes with Jackson deserved better, but he was unable to spur on his under-performing teammates. 7/10
23. Niko Matawalu: in a game that was also screaming “this needs some Niko magic”, he hardly made a dent. 5/10

17 Responses

  1. Is anyone else a tad concerned with the general standard of play leading into the 6 Nations? Other than Edinburgh’s grit, the accuracy, tactical game management and link play wasn’t so great. I know that Toonie will only be dealing with the better portion of these players but still, seems like going to Cardiff will be a mammoth task.

    1. General standard of play pre AI wasn’t great either to be fair (despite the results), managed okay then. Due to glasgow being one of the top pro 14 team expectations are constantly high (same for Leinster and munster and to a certain extent Ospreys). I think the reaction is a bit ott in my opinion, haven’t played great but won 10 pro 14 games in a row, have lost all there Euro games but in 3 of them (big spenders Montpellier x 2 and Aviva Champs and league leaders Exeter) they were in the games to that last minute, and lost to a resurgent Edinburgh who have won most of the last few games v Glasgow. All while blooding a fair few Scottish youngsters. If theres a critism its Rennie needs to find a plan B when A isnt working, but same could have been said when townsend was in charge. Its Rennies first season adapting to the NH way of playing, lets give him a bit of breathing space.

  2. Agree with your comments about Dunbar’s early replacement. Rennie made a mistake with that in my opinion.

  3. The scores are much too generous in my opinion. If 5 out of 10 is a pass mark, can you honestly suggest that 14 out of the starting 15 did enough to avoid criticism? For such marks to be justified the outcome would have been a comfortable Glasgow win against a lower rated team who played for all but 5 minutes with 14 players. Would be interested in an objective analysis on where Glasgow failed to implement their game strategy.
    Edinburgh did not play like world beaters but rather desperate men with their backs to the wall who wanted the win more.

  4. Can’t believe the high mark for Dunbar. Apart from some good scavenging at the breakdown, he missed more than one tackle and keeps throwing inaccurate passes.
    His knock on(under no pressure at all) also ruined the final Glasgow possession of the first half, after they’d been camped on the Edinburgh 5 metre line for several minutes. A 5 at best.
    Also, Jones at centre. Poor centre pairing and Jones threw more than “a couple of loose passes” as you say.
    Think ‘Hercule’ Jackson is a very underrated 15, and his link up play with some of the other backs is brilliant at times and great to watch.
    Given that they were up against a 2 man back row, the Glasgow back row were collectively very poor and not very savvy.

    1. A 5 for Dunbar seems overly harsh, he missed one tackle on van der Merwe, who blasted through a number of tacklers, but won 2 pens at breakdowns, and made more attacking runs and metres than Huw Jones, when that’s really not his forte. He got an extra half-point for attempting a Sonny Bill offload. It amused me.

  5. Sorry but these ratings are too high, when you consider Glasgow were playing an Edinburgh team down to 14 men for pretty much the whole game.

    Pyrgos getting a 6 when he stood clapping (an Edinburgh advantage!?) when Dean ran past him to score the winning try. He wasn’t the only player at fault as a number of players switched off, but getting a 6 when his time on the pitch included that, is very generous.

    I’m an Edinburgh fan, but if Glasgow had actually played to anything approaching their ability they would have won that game. Poor decision making across the board and not playing to the whistle is criminal.

    1. Compared to other Pyrgos performances this year, it’s an easy 6.
      Upon reflection, I’d maybe take a half or full point from Dunbar & Gray respectively, but this game was lost mainly through poor play-making choices, hence the 4 for Horne, and for me a 5 is not really a pass mark. It’s a “you were there, you didn’t arse up too much, but also did nothing of note” mark, which summed up the very average displays from too many Warriors players. 9 out of 21 scored 5 or less (MacDonald is exempt) but if half of your teammates don’t show up, I don’t think it fair that the ones who did play well should have that reflected on them individually.

      1. Fair, but if a 5 is “you were there and didn’t arse up too much”, then surely watching, clapping your hands like a seal, whilst an Edinburgh player runs past you to score the match winning try, must surely count as arsing up?

        Same goes for Jones, I mean Pyrgos eventually worked out he was in the wrong and tried to get over (far too late), but Dean practically ran into Jones and he just watched him do it.

        Personally I’d remove a couple of points from both of them for that. But I guess it’s just opinions.

      2. Understand a bit more of your rational. The key play-maker roles in modern rugby are 8-9-10, and the Glasgow players under-performed (in Horne’s case badly). Others on this blog have questioned Gray’s leadership qualities when captain and Saturday’s performance raised more doubts as to his fit for the role. No one can question that he is a willing tackler and short-yardage carrier. Saturday was crying out for an on-field leader to take a grip of an under-performing team and raise their energy and commitment levels to match a game opposition who were up for a battle, particularly after the red card which really energised the likes of McInally, Mata and others.

  6. Only flicked through the game in retrospect but it looked a pretty scrappy if quite entertaining affair. Glasgow need to pull their socks up. They have won so far in the league by a bit of luck and determination. They have been found wanting at European level and are in danger of the wheels coming off in the league too if they keep this up. Mind you the 1872 has thrown up some strange results in recent years. Bit mad to not start Finn, as I just said the game has had a bit of a habit of Edinburgh being better than their previous form suggests so to not start the strongest side is a bit foolish / arrogant IMO. I have seen a couple of comments about Glasgow thinking about Quade Cooper for next year, interesting. I think I must be the only person that thinks Finn leaving Glasgow is probably a good thing for Scotland, with only two pro teams there is always going to be a log jam, so removing the biggest log helps the others below get decent game time and develop, all good in the long run.

    On Edinburgh, very impressed with their determination and grit. I know its a cliché but they won that game because they wanted it more. Glasgow and indeed Scotland could take a lesson in grinding the b******s down from them. SHC looks like a man revitalised as does Gilchrist. I don’t think either are in danger of starting for Scotland but would be my choice for the bench if they keep it up. If Cockerill develops or brings in a couple of decent playmakers they could given a bit of time become a good team again.

    Not that I dislike Edinburgh in any way but a nice win at home for Glasgow should settle everything down again. I don’t know if its laziness and expecting to win without trying on Glasgow’s part but they need a rocket up them.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought all the 1872 games had been at Murrayfield recently? Given the crowd last week I would have thought it would be better to have all legs there for boosting the coffers. Especially now that technically it is a neutral venue and given the large number of Scotland caps across the two teams it is basically a home game for everyone.

    1. I think Quade Cooper coming to Glasgow is a terrible prospect, a non-tackling, arrogant Ozzie blocking a Scot from playing in a key position when Edinburgh seem to be using a Saffer & a Taff for their 10 – succession planning seems non-existent if this were to go ahead

      1. I think Cooper coming to Glasgow is a bit of a fantasy. Looks like Horne, Hastings maybe Jackson if stuff gets desperate next year. Long term, He signed for the canes for next season but If I were Weegie fan I’d be looking at Ihaia West.

        Edinburgh signed 18 year old Callum McLelland recently from Castleford and age grade ABs wonder 10 from Bordeaux for next year, so I doubt Tovey and the puddin are being kept on, I also understand Jaco I hasn’t ruled out playing for Scotland on residency.

        Also the 1872 usually always played both at Murrayfield and Scotstoun… the exception was the year before last, it was played at Murryfield twice due to a water logged pitch at scotstoun.

  7. Like others, I think a lot of these scores are on the generous side (a 6 for Pyrgos?!), with the exception of Matt Smith: I think he was involved in most rucks, made a huge number of tackles and made few mistakes. Not MotM by any means, but much better than 5/10, especially if Pyrgos gets a 6.

  8. It is reassuring to see Jacko getting recognition . He seems to suffer as everyone is looking for another Hogg. While not a flamboyant attacker like Hogg and Zebo he would get a first pick at most Pro14 sides IMO.

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