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Scotland vs Argentina: Player Ratings

© Scottish Rugby Blog

The evolution of player ratings continues. There’s more to us for think about, but actually we’ve made it simpler to understand. Players are marked out of 10 on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Set Piece/Influence/Impact depending on position. It then averages out at a mark out of 10 *=(rounded to nearest half which was a requested feature) which is easier to process as a reader (we hope) but you can at least see “the working out”, as they say in maths exams. Feedback welcome as always.

And so to the game. Scotland won, but might not have. Was the team too experimental?


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Set Piece

1. Allan Dell: Good workrate first half putting in some big hits. One of the few forwards to have beaten a defender. Scrum went okay. - (A7/D6/B6/S5) Overall: 6/10

2. Fraser Brown: A few lineouts went awry. Lucky not to get carded for a swinging arm tackle. Still hasn't pinned down the shirt but then neither has Rambo. Probably a good situation as they are pushing each other. - (A6/D6/B6/S6) Overall: 6/10

3. Simon Berghan: Like many of the players who are in "open" positions in this Scotland squad, showed plenty of effort off to head coach Townsend. Had some major disciplinary mishaps on the deck though which undid much of his good work. - (A5/D5/B3/S7) Overall: 5/10

4. Grant Gilchrist: Sorted a couple of the restarts out. Didn't see much ball carrying though and didn't make any ground. - (A5/D5/B5/S6) Overall: 5.5/10

5. Jonny Gray: Usual huge workrate in defence (19, 0 missed), usual problem going the other way of carries not getting very far past the gainline: 6 carries for a total of 4 metres. - (A6/D9/B5/S6) Overall: 6.5/10

6. Jamie Ritchie: Was the standout in a nicely balanced back row. Looked more like Hamish Watson than Hamish Watson at times and may have indeed have a future at 7 in a Bradbury/Ritchie/Fagerson back row in years to come. For now though can be pretty pleased with that game. - (A6/D9/B8/S8) Overall: 8/10

7. Hamish Watson: Threw himself about but is well-watched in attack these days. Scotland need to find a solution to teams slowing down our ball at the breakdown which he must play some role in. Along with Ritchie and Gray, huge defensive workrate. - (A6/D9/B5/S6) Overall: 6.5/10

8. Josh Strauss: Put in probably the best carries by a Scotland forward for the usual limited gains but only lasted an hour before he was swapped for Wilson. Good to see him back in a Scotland shirt though. - (A7/D7/B7/S7) Overall: 7/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Influence

9. Greig Laidlaw: One of those "petit general" games he does well in. Kicked well aside from the long range miss, was alive to Hogg's call for the try. Yes the ball was slow in the first half but it wasn't that sort of day for speedy play, as the number of knock-ons illustrated. - (A7/D6/B6/I9) Overall: 7/10

10. Adam Hastings: Had some great runs but was a little "early Finn" disappearing up blind alleys. Has a good range of grubbers and tricks in his bag but perhaps took too much on himself. Can't ignore that he created Scotland's best line breaks though. - (A8/D5/B4/I5) Overall: 5.5/10

11. Blair Kinghorn: Had a few flashes to show his pace but never found himself in enough space. Had a half chance when the ball was moving wide and he might have passed for an overlap, but took on his man and got tackled. Should get more chances in the Six Nations when there should be less experimentation. - (A7/D6/B5/I6) Overall: 6/10

12. Finn Russell: A quiet game for our magician. Townsend said in the buildup the fly half gets their hands on the ball a lot but it doesn't hold if you have two it'll double. For a gameplan where Toony clearly seems to want a second playmaker, very little goes through 12 (why we often citircise Dunbar for not carrying enough). - (A6/D5/B6/I6) Overall: 6/10

13. Huw Jones: Also starved of ball. Might have had a try if McGuigan had popped it back inside after Finn's kick pass but would still have had work to do. Showed last weekend he's still world class in attack but needs to find a way to force his way into games like, say, Seymour does when at his best. - (A6/D7/B6/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

14. Sean Maitland: The pick of the outside backs. Does a lot of unseesn work in defence and took his try as a winger should. Has a great scoring record at BT Murrayfied and should have won try of the year too. Has probably seen off young Kinghorn as an immediate challenger, for now. - (A8/D8/B6/I7) Overall: 7.5/10

15. Stuart Hogg: Dropped a lot of balls in soggy opening half hour. Good work in the second half to turn the pressure back on. Great awareness created the only try. High balls aside his level of quality doesn't seem to drop even if he's not being utilised. - (A7/D4/B6/I8) Overall: 6.5/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Impact

16. Stuart MicInally: Had a quiet game, not a massive impact but looked like he was carrying a shoulder injury for almost half the 20 minutes he was on for. Quieter than usual. - (A6/D6/B5/I5) Overall: 5.5/10

17. Alex Allan: Missed one tackle for an Argentine break but has done well this season and now needs to kick on at Glasgow and pressure Kebble to get more starts. Big question marks remain over Scotland's top looseheads. - (A6/D5/B6/I5) Overall: 5.5/10

18. Willem Nel: Scrum was not bolstered by his arrival and conceded a pen under the posts which is a blot on his copybook. Defensive workrate was huge though and the new industrious Nel is to be welcomed. - (A6/D7/B6/I4) Overall: 6/10

19. Sam Skinner: Came on for Jonny Gray - who almost never goes off - which shows Toony is at least confident in Skinner's abilities - but couldn't do much other than tackle. Athletic for a (Scotland) lock but perhaps not for a blindside, his future is likely in the second row. Versatility jumps him right into the World Cup mix though. - (A6/D7/B6/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

20. Ryan Wilson: Still not convinced he's the answer at 8 but did up the pressure on Argentina on the deck and in the tackle. Oddly managed almost the same amount of metres as Strauss in much less time. Could he have a long term future as an impact sub? - (A7/D6/B8/I6) Overall: 7/10

21. George Horne: Not used - (A/D/B/I) Overall: 0/10

22. Alex Dunbar: Tried to get involved in carrying when he came on but didn't punch any holes. Put in some big tackles but was also at fault for one of Argentina's big breaks that could have been a lot more damaging. - (A6/D5/B6/I6) Overall: 6/10

23. Byron McGuigan: Should have passed inside to Jones in about his only chance to influence the game. Didn't do much wrong during his brief cameo, and may well be seen again in the spring. - (A7/D7/B6/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

Team Attack: 141/230
Team Defence: 140/230
Team Breakdown: 127/230

Stats used from: ESPN Scrum

21 Responses

  1. My player ratings – based on starting at 7/10 (as we won) and in comparison to the MoM – Jamie Ritchie – I agree with Rory on that one.
    Hogg – 8 – if only for the call that led to the try, missed a couple of tackles but he was always a threat in attack, as ever.
    Maitland – 9 – did nothing wrong and quite a lot right.
    Jones – 7 – Never really got going on a dreich afternoon.
    Russell – 6 – not his position and looked more composed once he moved to 10, but that 22 restart will haunt him (and me) for a while.
    Hastings – 7 – was a threat with ball in hand but needs more composure and better discipline. Would have been a 6 but I’ve allowed for inexperience.
    Laidlaw – 8 – was the “petit general” and moved things around to ensure we played in the right areas. The service was slow, sure, but that’s a symptom of unclean ball.
    Strauss – 8 – seemed to be one of the few to make yards. Has cemented his position as the go-to man for carrying.
    Watson – 8 – is becoming one of the best 7s in the world. Honestly. Consistently tops the tackle stats, takes a lot to put down and rarely gets turned over. Not as strong at the breakdown so not 9/10.
    Ritchie – 9 – tackling, carrying, slowing the opposition ball. The shirt is his for the taking if he keeps this up.
    Gray – 7 – tackled himself to a standstill – and generally before the Argies made the gainline. The set-piece was a good as ever but two knock-ons soured the performance.
    Gilchrist – 7 – nothing special but nothing awful either. A workhorse.
    Berghan – 6 – didn’t really offer anything in attack and missed two tackles. Was penalised, rightly or wrongly, for one scrum. Not his best day.
    Brown – 7 – the overthrow should have dropped him to 6 but his jackalling at the breakdown was noticeable.
    Dell – 8 – strong in the scrum and in the loose. Probably generous but the fact I noticed him having a good game means something!
    Subs – all the subs made a good impact so 8/10. Shame George Horne didn’t get the chance.

  2. Sam Skinner the find of the series for me.
    I think he’s a 2nd row for us rather than a back row, especially when Blade Thomson becomes available.
    I would like to have seen Gary Graham. He’s hard.
    We’ll get a direct comparison between him and the incumbents (+ Hardie) when Falcons play Edinburgh.
    Back row of Watson, Thomson and Graham + Skinner in the 2nd row alongside one of the Grays?

    Got to be worth a punt……

      1. Jonny B Not sure how you can leave out Barclay and include Gary Graham who is well down the pecking order.

  3. Wilson missed 3 tackles – one an absolute shocker in our 22 – how can you give him a 6 for defence?

  4. Laidlaw did not kick all his points, and second week in a row made a poor decision, last week not taking the 3, this week going for one well outside his range. Also too slow to the breakdown and a lob of a pass. Just do not get the idolism of wee Greig

      1. So he should have given it to Hogg where we either score (and go 2 scores clear) or the ball lands in the back of the stand, to run the clock down. Instead it stayed in play with a one score game. We all, including Greig, that he needed to be on the high velde with a following wind on a dry day to make that one.

        Good decision, I think not

    1. I think don’t think Laidlaw is “idolised”. Greig splits this blog time and time again. We all know where his weaknesses are – lack of a “snipe”, relatively slow pass.
      However his decision-making and leadership are excellent, generally. It’s easy in hindsight to say he should’ve taken the 3 points last week, but with 22 minutes to go and the saffers having just been penalised for bringing a maul down, and our maul now becoming a weapon, I agreed with Greig at the time.
      And if you think it wasn’t worth a go to put ourselves two scores ahead in the dying minutes, you know diddly squat about international rugby.

      1. against the Bokke, we had success with a mid field in play maul which caught them by suprise. We had tried mauls from lineouts earlier, easily defended, the were ready for the later one and again easily defended it. Should have taken the 3, they have to kick it back to us and plenty of time for another score.

        Against the Arg, of course its right to try to go 2 scores clear, but in what fantasy world does Laidlaw have the distance to get that in those conditions?
        Hogg does easily and either gets it or ball dead
        This is idolising him, like the MoM was.

      2. Whilst Ritchie had another fine match – he was part of a backrow that were basically dominated.

        I would have give Maitland my MOM.

      3. mean the TV MoM, which typifies the Laidlaw worship.

        Richie was an excellent call and I agree with it

  5. I think most of Wilson’s metres came from taking a high ball which he then ran at pace into contact and did make a couple of yards. Maybe he needs the run up to make a proper dent as a ball carrier, I remember round about the last World Cup he was being talked up as one of the fastest members of the squad

  6. There are games when Laidlaw would be the right choice. But up against big, fast aggressive forwards, and a referee who tolerates casual offside, G. Horne is a better option..

    1. I just wrote a longer comment (again!) about Greig Laidlaw on the match report. I won’t repeat it here but I think csc makes a good point which I sort of made. Many teams have a defence that our Laidlaw team will struggle against. The additional Gain in attacking rhythm from George Horne will help us get over the gain line as the smothering defensive line will not always be set. Yes there will be some errors and turnovers from and under prepped attack structure so it becomes a trade off.
      I just come to the conclusion we would gain more than we would lose developing Horne now.
      Greig deserves huge credit for what he has and does contribute (eg great pass for Huw Jones second try get England) but we must consider the possibility there is a better option.

      1. I also think his decision making is over rated. About 5 minutes to go he put up a box kick which was too long and set up a threatening Argentine attack.

  7. The most balanced and in form match day squad of the autumn I could think of – enough flair, enough grunt…

    1. A Dell
    2. S McInally (vc)
    3. S Berghan
    4. G Gilchrist
    5. J Gray
    6. J Ritchie
    7. H Watson
    8. J Strauss

    9. G Laidlaw (c)
    10. F Russell
    11. S Maitland
    12. A Dunbar
    13. H Jones
    14. T Seymour
    15. S Hogg

    16. F Brown
    17. A Allan
    18. WP Nel
    19. S Skinner
    20. R Wilson
    21. G Horne
    22. P Horne
    23. B Kinghorn

    1. Best squad with breakdown the key theme.

      1. Marfo
      2. Brown
      3. Fagerson
      4. Harley
      5. Thomson
      6. Hardie
      7. Watson
      8. Barclay
      9. SHC
      10. Hastings
      11. Jones
      12. Dunbar
      13. Bennett
      14. Taylor
      15. Maitland

      16. Turner
      17. Dell
      18. Berghan
      19. Toolis
      20. Wilson
      21. Price
      22. Horne
      23. Hughes

      1. Loving your selections Neil. What would be your hardest squad? Fastest squad? Best set piece squad and best big tackling squad?

  8. 1. Dell
    2. McInally/Brown
    3. Nel
    4. Skinner
    5. R.Gray
    6. Barclay
    7. Watson
    8. Bradbury
    9. G. Horne
    10. Russell
    11. Seymour
    12. P. Horne
    13. Jones
    14. Maitland
    15. Hogg

    16. Brown/McInally, 17. Bhatti, 18. Fagerson, 19. J Gray, 20. Ritchie, 21. Laidlaw, 22. Hastings, 23. Taylor.

    Obviously a lot can change in 10 months but going into the RWC we need to fast and accurate. Horne in midfield controls Russell but Russell looks more comfortable with Dunbar next to him (big bugger to pass to under pressure)

    For me, Nel needs a good 6N and rest of Pro14 season. If not then I’d start Fagerson at the RWC and take along Berghan & McCallum as cover. Nel is only required if he starts, he makes no impact off the bench. Fagerson and Berghan both carry better than him.

    Jonny Gray has got hands like feet at times. Watched him warming up against SA and he can’t pass & struggled to catch the ball. His carrying is very average and he rarely breaks the gain line. Richie offers more in the loose and his lineout work is much better. Jonny still a valuable member and could shore up a defence from the bench.

    Back row, there are so many options and these are the 3 I like. Ritchie is so unlucky not to start for me but until Barclay retires he is 2nd choice. Graham & Thomson haven’t proven their worth for Scotland yet so they are not considered (yet). Matt Fagerson needs to add another 10Kg before he is better than Bradbury.

    In the backs, Hornito needs to start. He terrifies defences and holds in the back row away from the 10 which gives the backline a couple of extra seconds. Laidlaw does not but is the best we have in closing out a tight game, hence why he is the perennial 80 minute scrum half.#

    Dunbar used to be my go to 12 but he has gotten so slow and his defence is terrible, which used to be his biggest strength. Pete Horne has brain farts but is so much better than Dunbar at the moment. Duncan Taylor may get fit and eclipse them both but its unlikely at present.

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