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Wales U20s vs Scotland U20s: Player Ratings

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It was a pretty tough night for Scotland down in Colwyn Bay. Looking back to last season though the U20s shipped 65 points to Wales at home in the 6 Nations – before going on to achieve a record-breaking 5th place finish at the World Rugby Championships. Hopefully this group can manage a similar improvement given more time together. Trying to look on the positive side of things here are the player ratings from Round 1.

15. Paddy Dewhirst: Made the most metres of any player on the Scottish side. Kicking from hand was very good and for spells helped the team maintain strong field position – 7/10

14. Sam Yawayawa: Tried hard to get involved but at times a bit peripheral to the action with Scotland struggling for good attacking ball – 5/10

13. Mark New: Only touched the ball 5 times and never really got to show his skills in attacks on what must have been a frustrating night – 5/10

12. Stafford McDowell: The side’s most experienced player was unsurprisingly their main outlet and he generally got over the gainline – 6/10

11. Kyle Rowe: Came off his wing looking for work (and looked positive when he found it) but he was starved of ball for long periods – 5/10

10. Callum McLelland: Like Dewhirst his kicking from hand was very good. Will be interesting to see him playing closer to the gainline in future. The only Scottish back to make a clean break – 6/10

9. Kaleem Barreto: His service looked very sharp and he looked confident, barking orders to keep the forwards under control. Tried to play with a high tempo but limited opportunities – 7/10

1. Shaun Gunn: Started out strong and it even looked like Scotland might get the nudge against a pretty monstrous Welsh pack. Most defenders beaten of any Scot with 3 – 6/10

2. Robbie Smith (c): His work in the loose was strong but the lineout was a real struggle all night. He’s hardly the first young Scot to have issues in this area. Do the SRU need to employ the throwing in equivalent of kicking guru Dave Alred to deal with the mechanical and mental aspects of this area? – 4/10

3. Finlay Richardson: Solid first half in trying circumstances. Tired a bit in the second half when he was possibly a bit exposed by the young Scots’ injury woes in this position – 5/10

4. Ewan Johnson: Volume of work from both locks was good and he tried manfully to stem the Welsh tide. There just seemed to be no way for the young Scots to get their hands on the ball at times – 6/10

5. Jamie Hodgson: Made an impressive number of tackles – 25 out of 28 with no other player attempting more than 18. Also the primary lineout option with 5 takes and 1 steal – 7/10

6. Archie Erskine: The stand out player for Scotland. Following on from his predecessors in the 6 shirt, Tom Dodd and Jamie Ritchie, he did a bit of everything but his main talent was being a tough, nuggety, awkward bugger at the breakdown who won turnovers and wound up the opposition – 7/10

7. Guy Graham: Flung himself about with reckless abandon but often to no avail as the Welsh just continually recycled possession until Scotland ran out of defenders – 5/10

8. Devante Onojaife: He may have been English just a few short months ago but let’s face it – that’s never been an impediment to a successful Scottish rugby career… An interesting prospect but Scotland need to have him carrying a lot more as he did late on to good effect – 6/10


Charlie Chapman was the only player to get and extended run, doing a solid job at scrum half but not quite matching Barreto’s influence. The stand out was probably loosehead Nathan McBeth – mainly for the fact that his presence finally meant Scotland had someone on the pitch with a similar stature to the Welsh front row!

16 Responses

  1. Interesting reading. Hopefully like you say this group will grow together and improve after a poor start.

    Is Dewhirst occasionally a stand off? I’ve been lead to believe that between him, Thompson and Brunton we’ve a bit of potential coming through.

    It’s grim reading about the lack of size in our pack, our under 20s have often looked like boys playing men but I thought in recent seasons with the likes of Nicol and Crosbie part of powerful packs we had put that behind us.

    1. Dewhirst was mainly as No.10 up until about U16s level, appears to have switched to become a utility back of late as he has played No.13 and No.15 for Ayr, Interestingly enough I have seen him playing No.9 a few times as well. Basically he can play more or less anywhere across the backline.

    1. I’d agree to some extent with that. After all you only need a couple of decent players coming through each year to keep the pool for the national team healthy. And if we have one player each year who is too good to even be spared like Kinghorn last year and Fagerson this year we’re in a decent place.

      However I’m sure there are arguments about developing a winning mentality (or a downtrodden losing one).

      1. From the point of view that it could be a bit unfair to them? It’s something I’m wary of. Tend to focus on the positives and won’t be using any zeros!

        Hopefully there’s value in using this type of article to introduce some of the names in contention at this level to people who are visiting the site mainly for Test side and Pro Team news.

      2. What? There is no point in rating the players from any game at any level other than for fun/interest which is true regardless of their age.

      3. Scrummo – imagine seeing a scathing rating for your performance by some random when you’re 18.

      4. I get what you’re saying but these lads should be pushing towards a future in professional sport so will need thicker skins if one man’s opinion is going to upset them as they will certainly need to toughen up. Besides it’s good preparation for getting 0s one day if they make the full national side.

    2. I can certainly see where you are coming from, most 19 year old rugby players would be lucky if they were starting for their local 1st XV / 2nd XV but when you start doing this as a job then surely you are aware that people will scrutinise the performance of the work rate that you are putting in? It’s much like any other workplace in that regard except ‘we’ are effectively the ones who are funding these players through tickets, merchandise, support, local clubs etc, we have a right to judge the SRU and the players accordingly.

  2. I watched the game and was amazed at Steve Scott reluctance to use his bench. A lot of the forwards were out on their feet with 20 mins to go and fresh Welshman were coming on to meet and greet them. In such a tough physical encounter as this, surely it would have made more sense to bring subs on a lot earlier.

    McBeth, in particular comes over from SA very highly rated and yet was only considered worthy of 8 mins off the bench in a losing cause.

    It won’t be any easier next week against France, so perhaps he needs to look at his tactics a little bit.

    1. It would appear to be a Scotland thing (except under Townsend), I think coaches should be looking to sub players from as early as the 3o-40 minute mark as this is certainly when positions 1-3 start lagging and the backs are looking at anywhere from around the 50 minute mark, although it should be said that a top class prop should have the same level of endurance as any back (Just don’t confuse speed with endurance)

  3. Interesting to see McLelland has been moved to 12 for the France game. Thought he looked handy last week but had a bit of a rugby leagueish tendency to happily run into contact – might be more suited to the 12 position. We’ll have a mini version of the Ford-Farrell pairing that works so well for England with him playing outside Ross Thompson – hopefully.

    An surprising move from the coaches to keep McBeth on the bench again when it must have taken a considerable amount of effort to get him to defect from South Africa…

  4. Yikes…that was terrible against France. Watching both this and the Wales match…I can’t see any players from this squad who have potential to be good let alone great.
    Looked like France had a fit, powerful and technically astute team ready to progress to the next level of rugby…whereas Scotland looked like they had never seen a gym…learned rugby from watching videos…and were coached by someone with that tactical nous of the local pub team.

    1. French are all full time Pros!! Wales and France put 65pts and 55pts on the crop last year but went on to the best JWC we’ve had. I’ll admit this years are maybe not as good and I have concerns about tue coaching team but this is an inexperienced group majority of whom will be available for next years 6 nations. Not going to write all of them off just yet.

  5. Just noted from the BBC Rugby website that a sizeable chunk of the Under 20 coaching/management staff have been suspended by the SRU pending investigation into an ‘incident’ in Llandudno two days before the U-20 fixture. Good that decisive action is being taken, if slightly tardy. Hope this is covered on the next podcast.
    At least Ryan Wilson wasn’t involved, on this occasion!!

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion