Well, at least it wasn’t quite as horrifying as last time out at the Principality, and nobody gets a 0, but still relatively poor stuff from Scotland. Bullied at the ruck and by the defence, some major disappointments in attack, and was it just me or were Wales offside at nearly every breakdown?
15. Blair Kinghorn: Was given the restart and most other kicking duties, some of which were very contestable, but was well shackled when trying to run the ball back which is his primary skill. Did thump the ball for decent territory on occasion. To be fair Hogg would have struggled with a similar lack of opportunities – 6/10
14. Tommy Seymour: One majestic high-take, but hardly touched the ball otherwise. Has looked back on form for Glasgow this season after Lions-fatigue, but not at the races today. 5/10
13. Huw Jones: We know he’s an attacking threat, but between him and Dunbar, the lads have to sort out their defensive duties. A missed tackle on North allowed him to score, and was also caught out for the Jonathan Davies score which took the game beyond Scotland. 4/10
12. Alex Dunbar: Rather surprisingly big Eck carried more attacking threat than his midfield partner, but they need to get their communication and spacing sorted if they’re to achieve their potential as a combo. Did some decent crash-ball work when trying to get Scotland back into the game. 6/10
11. Lee Jones: Reliable, but unspectacular. Our version of Keith Earls, but not as good, and far less of a mouthy little ****. Had a decent charge in the second half once Horne-ito had broken the line and fed him in a bit of space. 6/10
10. Adam Hastings: Finn Russell Mk II comparisons were further exacerbated by missing an early penalty kick to touch. Was targeted by the blitzing Welsh defence and had little opportunity, in the first-half especially, to show his attacking flair. A couple of nice territorial kicks at start of the second half, but had nothing hopeful to work with. 6/10
9. Ali Price: After the 6 Nations horror-show in Cardiff, you can excuse him for being a bit more pedestrian this time around, but the service was painfully slow at times. His box-kicking wasn’t great either. His jacket is on a shoogly peg, especially when you consider the back-up options. 4/10
1. Alan Dell: Not much to say, a very “beige” performance. Ineffective, but not overly poor. 5/10
2. Stuart McInally (c): Wales drew first blood, but “Rambo” got his side back into contention towards the end of the first-half when scoring off a maul. Got about a bit, solid arrows, but nothing overly special in a very stop-start game. Could do more talking as the skipper. 6/10
3. W.P Nel: Won a penalty on the first scrum, but gave away two in open play, and doesn’t seem to fit the rapid-style ethos of Toonie despite an increase in his carrying work. 4/10
4. Ben Toolis: He’s in there for his line-out prowess, and that area worked well, but bit of a one-trick pony. 5/10
5. Jonny Gray: Tackle, tackle, tackle, take line-out, hit ruck, close quarter charging, bit more tackling. What we’ve come to expect from the statistician’s dream. Double movement when close to the line gave away a penalty, when he should’ve known better. 6/10
6. Jamie Ritchie: Seemed to be present at every ruck, but his over-eagerness to try and win turnover ball led to a couple of penalties. 5/10
7. Hamish Watson: Scotland’s best player. Started a bit slowly, but was the only forward to consistently carry effectively and break the gain-line. The “Pinball” wizard needed more help at the breakdown, where he won a hugely important penalty in the first-half when Wales could have broken away. 7/10
8. Ryan Wilson: Abrasive as usual – claimed a second Lions hooker broken nose inside a month when making an interception and wrapping the nut on Ken Owens – but didn’t bring much more to the party. On this season’s form, he’s lucky to be ahead of Matt Fagerson in the pecking order for Glasgow or Scotland. 4/10
16. Fraser Brown: (55th min) Came on and instantly showed breakdown prowess. Solid darts, carried hard. Him and McInally are very, very close in terms of quality right now. 6/10
17. Alex Allan: (55th min) Couple of decent close quarter drives when Scotland were camped in Wales’ 22, but didn’t impact on the game. 5/10
18. Simon Berghan: (55th min) Got pinged by Raynal for wheeling when Scotland were taking on a 7-man scrum. Whether that was right or not, it cost good field position. 5/10
19. Grant Gilchrist: (74th min) Not on long enough to make any impact, but made his opinion known for the above penalty. Him and Toolis are very close in terms of who should partner Jonny Gray. 5/10
20. Matt Fagerson: (63rd min) He carries better than Wilson, he passes better than Wilson. Didn’t make any major inroads, but the young stalwart deserves a start at some stage. 6/10
21. George Horne: (63rd min) The Price seems wrong. Horne-ito came on, dished the ball out sharp, brought pace to the game, and was very unlucky with his little chip-kick which his big brother just failed to dot down. Should start, or at least be second string to Laidlaw, for remainder of the Autumn Tests in my opinion. 7/10
22. Peter Horne: (63rd min) As stated above, very nearly scored. Runs some very clever lines from centre, and tried to bring verve to Scotland’s attack when playing as a Kiwi-style 2nd 5/8th. 6/10
23. Darcy Graham: (74th min) The pocket-dynamo hardly got a look-in, with Wales running down the clock once he came on. Congrats on the first cap though. 5/10
Gregor Townsend has added six players to the Scotland squad, while sending a number of his current flock back to their clubs. Richard Cockerill will be pleased at this news, as will fans of forgotten exiles.
Warriors quartet Adam Ashe (back-row), Scott Cummings (lock), Nick Grigg (centre) and Stuart Hogg (full-back) have all been added. Yes, we thought Hoggy was still injured too – turns out his recovery time from the ankle surgery was estimated at 10-12 weeks from the original announcement which would bring him back at the end of this month. So he’s about 3-5 weeks early…
They are joined by exiled (in every sense) pair Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) and Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors) who have both been in fine form, although Strauss has apparently been struggling for game time in a competitive Sale back row unit.
The additions follow injuries sustained by Scarlets back-row Blade Thomson (head) and Harlequins centre James Lang (rib) as they represented their club sides at the weekend. It is a shame as they definitely would have been in the mix for Fiji – although the announcement doesn’t say they have been returned to their clubs just yet so they could still play a part if the injuries are not too serious. Lang was a recent addition to the squad.
David Denton (Leicester Tigers) and Matt Scott (Edinburgh) continue their ongoing recovery from head injuries and are back with their respective clubs while Ross Ford, Henry Pyrgos and Dougie Fife have been released back to the capital side. Looks like Toony loves Darcy now…