Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


1872 Cup Pt I: Edinburgh Player Ratings

Peter Horne is hit hard by Blair Kinghorn during Edinburgh Rugby vs Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness Pro14 - 1872 Cup Rd.1 at BT Murrayfield- pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Edinburgh put in a huge collective effort to stay close to Glasgow despite a one man disadvantage and then managed to make just enough luck to nick it at the end. Here are my individual ratings.

15. Blair Kinghorn: Counter-attacked well and looked comfortable under the high ball. Kept the Warriors honest with ball in hand but did not reach the heights of his Challenge Cup performances against far superior opposition. 7/10

14. Dougie Fife: Limited chances with ball in hand and felled by two monster tackles when he did get in on the action. Worked hard in defence, and made one crucial tackle to stop Huw Jones. 7/10

13. James Johnstone: Another who had little chance to show his attacking prowess, but he carried well when asked and stuck to the task of matching international centres well. 7/10

12. Phil Burleigh: His experience helped after Berghan’s red card – good game management took some pressure of Van Der Walt, and he kicked well, one lovely chip nearly put Van Der Merwe away. 7.5/10

11. Duhan Van Der Merwe: A hugely physical presence who found joy running into Horne/Russell’s channel and enjoyed his one-on-one battle with an again off-colour Tommy Seymour. Looks a real find – 8/10

10. Jaco Van Der Walt: Made a brilliant break, only to lose the ball thanks to Seymour’s stray boot. His kicking game pinned Glasgow in their own territory and he carried a fair bit to help out his outnumbered forward pack. A good showing from the South African. 8/10

9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne: Bossed the forwards perfectly and controlled the tempo after Berghan’s dismissal. Kicked well both territorially and for the posts; looks like he’s almost back to the top of his game and will challenge for a Six Nations squad place. 8/10

1. Rory Sutherland: Scrum struggled at times but given their numerical disadvantage, and that the Hawick man has been out for months injured, he can be pleased with his input. Carried well and didn’t shirk his tackles before being replaced early in the second half. 8/10

2. Stuart McInally (capt): Outstanding. Interventions at key times broke down Glasgow attacks, lineout functioned well and the skipper for the day was everywhere in the loose, whether it was to carry or fell a Glasgow player in defence. 9/10

3. Simon Berghan: Lasted no more than five minutes after putting his boot on Fraser Brown’s head. Cockerill will have had his side raring to go, but moment of madness from the Scotland tighthead nearly cost them dearly. 1/10

4. Ben Toolis: Edinburgh’s lineout master will be disappointed with the manner of Scott Cummings’ score, but he worked tirelessly all game and disrupted the Glasgow maul on more than one occasion. 8/10

5. Grant Gilchrist: A mountainous performance from the former Stirling County man, who was Edinburgh’s top tackler. Took a lot of lineout ball, including the throw that led to the match-winning try, and made some big hits. 8/10

6. Viliame Mata: The Fijian did all the hard work you’d expect of a blindside – hit rucks, made tackles (including one thumping effort on Matt Smith) and carried to win his side hard yards. A fine performance showing he has the grunt to go alongside the Olympic gold medal-winning 7s flair. 8.5/10

7. Hamish Watson: His game was over by the ninth minute, replaced to allow Shields on after THAT red card. Did nothing wrong while he was on and made a couple of good carries. 6/10

8. Cornell Du Preez: Another who looks nearly back to the peak of his powers. Made some thumping tackles and was a constant carrier as Edinburgh slowed the tempo of the game down. 8.5/10


16. Neil Cochrane: Not the same impact as McInally but the veteran played his part – 6/10

17. Murray McCallum: Put his hand up to carry after replacing Sutherland and scrum did not deteriorate any further – 7/10

18. Matt Sheilds: Involved much earlier than he would have expected. Scrum struggled at times, but not solely his fault. 6/10

19. Lewis Carmichael: A late addition to the bench after Fraser McKenzie withdrew, he came on in the back row and made a couple of good carries. 7/10

20. Jamie Ritchie: Added energy to the defensive effort. 7/10

21. Nathan Fowles: Continued Hidalgo-Clyne’s good work in managing the game and frustrating the Warriors. Took his try superbly at a crucial time – 8/10

22. Chris Dean: The match winner. Snuck over after a terrible Lee Jones tackle, but had shown up well prior to that after replacing Burleigh. 8/10

23. Darcy Graham – Didn’t have many chances to get involved but worked hard. 7/10

18 Responses

  1. Taken a punt at Edinburgh ratings. Can’t fit them in one post so will break it down over 3 comments, forwards, backs and replacements

    1. Sutherland – Did well enough in the scrum, considering it was a man down for most the game, fairly effective in the loose until injury forced him off – 7/10
    2. McInally – Led his team superbly, deserved MotM. Very good work at the lineout and made his tackles. 9/10
    3. Shields* – Did well enough when he came on, far earlier than anyone would have expected (including himself), didn’t do much in the loose, but made his tackles – 6/10
    4. Toolis – Did well at the lineout, which is very much a key strength of his, clearly a skill picked up from his volleyball days, made his tackles and decent with ball in hand – 8/10
    5. Gilchrist – Often maligned, but this season seems to be back approaching the player he promised to be, formed a good partnership with Toolis and like most the team did well in defence and his work in the maul was instrumental. 7.5/10
    6. Mata – Pre game I wasn’t sure he was the right choice, but did he ever prove me wrong. Worked tirelessly put in some massive hits and made metres with ball in hand. That hit on Smith a particular highlight. Took a while to find his feet (and had excessive Visa issues) but he’s rated by Cockerill and based on that performance you can see why. – 8/10
    7. Watson – Taken off after 6 mins, was doing fine before that 5/10 (low score due to limited time on pitch)
    8. Du Preez – Made some metres with ball in hand, but given Edinburgh’s tactics once Berghan went off was to pick and go, he didn’t make huge numbers. Decent in the loose though and did what was asked of him, especially as he was part of a backrow a player down for 70 odd minutes – 7/10

    * Berghan – Not getting a rating as not on the field long enough, but 0/10, as he made a huge error of judgement. Will leave Scotland short in the 6 nations as I doubt his ban will be short.

    1. Backs:
      9. Hidalgo-Clyne – Biggest challenge for Edinburgh was controlling this game, and stopping Glasgow from running riot with the man advantage, he did this well, slowing the game down when needed. Had two kicks at goal and got both – 7/10
      10. Van Der Walt – Early days in his Edinburgh career, but he looks to be a capable player, big and strong, and incredibly unlucky that Seymour’s boot denied him a likely try after an impressive run through 3 Glasgow players. – 8/10
      11. Van Der Merwe – The lad is a monster, he’s not the biggest player (6’3, 16stone) but he seems to have a fair strength about him. Came looking for work and made a number of breaks. Unlucky the gameplan restricted his influence due to circumstances outwith his control but when he got the ball he looked a threat and made the most metres in the Edinburgh side and joint top with Horne across both teams – 8/10
      12. Burleigh – The stats are not his friend in this game sadly, he apparently attempted 4 tackles and missed 3 of them, but his attacking game was ok, certainly kept things moving when he was involved – 6/10
      13. Johnstone – Delighted that he’s signed a contract with Edinburgh, this wasn’t an ideal game for him as he was restricted to what he could do from an attacking sense, but did well enough in defence – 6/10
      14. Fife – Along with Johnstone, delighted he’s signed up with Edinburgh, was mad to let him go first time round, so good to have him back. Similar stats to DVDM, but was a tactical sub in the 2nd half. Did well up till that point – 7.5/10
      15. Kinghorn – His biggest strength is his work in open play and running with the ball in hand, that wasn’t possible for him today, had a couple of chances where the ball just didn’t get to him. Some decent carrries with the ball and some good decision making, which has been something that has possibly been a criticism of him previously. Certainly finding his feet at 15 and could easily be a challenger for a bench spot in the 6 nations (depending on results, possibly against Italy)

      1. Replacements
        16. Cochrane – Came on for MotM McInally and there wasn’t a massive drop in performance, was very visibly telling the players to keep their head after Dean’s try. 6/10
        17. McCallum – Did well enough when he came on, in a position where he’s no longer focussing on and only played due to injuries. Normally a TH but played well enough at LH. 6/10
        18. Shields (covered already)
        19. Carmichael – played the last 12 mins, made some decent breaks during his time on the pitch playing in the backrow, not long where his long term future will be but looks likely he’s being classed as a back row option. 6/10
        20. Ritchie – Was an interesting tactical switch to bring Fife off and replace him with Ritchie, but it certainly paid off, his energy and aggression was huge, really demonstrated by his tackle on Niko knocking the ball out his hand in the process and putting Glasgow under pressure. – 7/10
        21. Fowles – Came on and got the try that really gave the Edinburgh players belief they could actually go on and win. Continued the good work SHC did. 7/10
        22. Dean – Scored the winning try, who cares what else he did – 7/10
        23. Graham – Replaced DVDM, did very little, but again he’s more suited to open play and space which wasn’t going to be possible in that game. 5/10

    1. Unless you are Jonny Gray – he starts at an 8 and gets an additional point for each carry made.

  2. Berghan suspended for 6 weeks so misses Wales game. Looks like prop crisis going to persist through 6N.

    Annoyingly, disciplinary hearings are usually held on the Tuesday after a game but due to the public holiday it was held today, 2 days later. Berghan’s suspension will be completed on the 4 Feb. Scotland play Wales in the 3 Feb.

      1. Problem is that leaves ZFag as last man standing. Jon Welsh? D’Arcy Rae? Any other thoughts for the bench?

      2. Gash ! Gash ! He is handy with his shoe. Breaks up the plan to replace Edinburgh front row with Glasgow. I am sure BVC will be sending Toonie a text right now with words like’ be careful what you wish for’.

    1. Whether we think he’s ‘gash’ or not it’s a loss for that crucial opener in Cardiff. How much of a loss we’ll have to wait and see.

      Criminal Fatland will be pleased to know see our front row crisis continue.

      So I wonder, will the Welsh now definitely try and slow the game down and physically grind out a well excecuted victory, or take us on with Toonie’s new fast game style?

    2. I read somewhere that stamping on the head had an entry level of 12 weeks and the beeb are saying 50% reduction is the maximum.

      What is stupid from a rugby disciplinary point of view is that in Berghan’s report it says the 50% reduction was because no serious injury occurred. But for Wales’ Evans hearing he still gets a 50% reduction despite causing a head injury to the person he tackled! And with a lower entry point of 8 weeks (which I don’t understand as a player landing on their head from mid-air could do more serious and permanent damage than a stamp) he is free to play in the 6N opener. So effectively cause more damage and get a lower sanction. Seems daft.

  3. Does anyone know if there is a member of staff, or a department at the SRU who is responsible for challenging disciplinary sanctions, and/or marginal refereeing decisions that have gone against Scotland?

    I know I’m sounding like your moany Scottish rugby fan, but it really does seem like we never get the run of the green, and we get slammed harder than the other tier 1 countries.

  4. I’m an Edinburgh and Scotland fan but still think he got off lightly. He looked down then raked a fellow players head. A fellow Scotland player by the way. That Brown did not have a more serious injury is down to luck.

    1. Quite right, facial injuries are for life, the mans a clown. Mind you, it must be humiliating !

      I see Pyrgos out the 23 and as far as I am concerned, Horne is next. I suspect Pyrgos is just on rotation so lets not get too excited.

      As for Huw Jones, it’s simple, if we played Ronaldo in the Scottish leagues , he would not be Ronaldo for very long. It takes a certain type of resilience to play sport in Scotland.

      Incidentally , I see Jones as the most complete all rounder in a Scottish jersey since Alan Tait, I have just never felt a move to Scotland was in his best interest, however I do not know all the facts.

  5. Teams are out for tomorrow


    15. Blair Kinghorn (56)
    14. Damien Hoyland (54)
    13. James Johnstone (12)
    12. Phil Burleigh (67)
    11. Duhan van der Merwe (4)
    10. Jaco van der Walt (4)
    9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (97)

    1. Murray McCallum (29)
    2. Stuart McInally (112) CAPTAIN
    3. Matt Shields (3)
    4. Ben Toolis (79)
    5. Grant Gilchrist (110)
    6. Jamie Ritchie (41)
    7. Hamish Watson (78)
    8. Viliame Mata (24)

    Replacements: 16. Neil Cochrane (64); 17. Jordan Lay *; 18. Elliot Millar-Mills *; 19. Fraser McKenzie (91); 20. Cornell du Preez (93); 21. Nathan Fowles (46); 22. Chris Dean (55); 23. Darcy Graham (3)


    15. Ruaridh Jackson (127)
    14. Lee Jones (66)
    13. Nick Grigg (32)
    12. Alex Dunbar (106)
    11. Niko Matawalu (85)
    10. Finn Russell (73)
    9. Ali Price (51)

    1. Jamie Bhatti (19)
    2. Fraser Brown (70)
    3. Zander Fagerson (61)
    4. Kiran McDonald (5)
    5. Jonny Gray (80) CAPTAIN
    6. Robert Harley (171)
    7. Matt Smith (11)
    8. Matt Fagerson (14)


    16. Pat MacArthur (163)
    17. Oli Kebble (3)
    18. Siua Halanukonuka (5)
    19. Greg Peterson (23)
    20. Chris Fusaro (130)
    21. George Horne (10)
    22. Peter Horne (128)
    23. Huw Jones (2)

    Bit underwhelming for me, was hoping to see a couple of guys returning, Graham deserves a start and would have liked to see Hastings on the bench after Hornes performance last week. Dropping Huw Jones is a surprise – even with a couple of dodgy passes. At least Pyrgos is out….

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion