Scotland v Ireland: Player Ratings

A first half that showed considerable promise, followed by a late-stages collapse. We’ve been here before, haven’t we?


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Set Piece

1. Allan Dell: Put in a huge amount of tackles around the park, but wasn't much in evidence with the ball. Scrums went about as okay as could be expected. - (A5/D5/B4/S6) Overall: 5/10

2. Stuart McInally: Perhaps a quiet afternoon for the hooker with ball in hand but still prominent gang-tackling close to the ruck. For some reason Poite let him away with squint lineout throws all afternoon but Scotland still only secured 70% of them. - (A4/D6/B6/S5) Overall: 5.5/10

3. Simon Berghan: Scrum was stable if not at any point dominant but when it did buckle, was usually on the tighthead side. Put himself around in the loose. Needed more ball carrying. - (A5/D5/B5/S6) Overall: 5.5/10

4. Grant Gilchrist: As usual for a Scotland second row these days, he made 20+ tackles, and carried 6 times, making 5 metres. Pleasingly often acted as a link man to Finn Russell if he got the ball and the run wasn't on. - (A5/D7/B5/S4) Overall: 5.5/10

5. Jonny Gray: Similar stats to Gilchrist (one extra carry, one less tackle, same metres gained), similar story. - (A4/D7/B5/S3) Overall: 5/10

6. Ryan Wilson: Has his detractors round these parts but Scotland's defence was measurably less focused without him in the side. Looked like he was enjoying his rugby in the first half putting pressure on Sexton and is always a vocal presence through the ref's mic! - (A7/D7/B6/S6) Overall: 6.5/10

7. Jamie Ritchie: Another very good performance where he had a tackle count in the high twenties and won the games only jackal turnover (via a penalty) - something of a miracle given Irish breakdown pressure made it hard for anyone to stay on their feet. - (A7/D8/B6/S5) Overall: 6.5/10

8. Josh Strauss: Another decent carrying game from the big Number 8, who made more metres than the rest of the starting pack combined. Also put in a huge defensive effort which will have left a few bruises. - (A7/D7/B4/S5) Overall: 6/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Influence

9. Greig Laidlaw: Had a pretty composed game, despite offering little in attack (not his strength). Had a frustrating afternoon with the referee but kicked his goals in blustery conditions and served up the ball as quickly as it was available. - (A4/D7/B7/I8) Overall: 6.5/10

10. Finn Russell: As usual some nice kicks from hand and now throws far fewer hospital passes than previous seasons. Set up the Johnson try with a moment of brilliance. Scrappy tackling and needed to threaten a little more in the second half to keep the defence narrower. - (A7/D4/B5/I8) Overall: 6/10

11. Sean Maitland: Struggled to get a foothold in the game and was partially at fault for gifting Ireland's opening try. Summed up by the awful forward shovel of a pass right at the end. - (A3/D4/B5/I5) Overall: 4.5/10

12. Sam Johnson: Another assured game on only his second cap. Didn't find things as easy as the first against a pretty aggressive Irish defensive line. Is quick to move the ball wide (as Scotland usually are as a team) but it does reduce the space out wide. - (A6/D7/B5/I5) Overall: 6/10

13. Huw Jones: Had a few bright spots in the first half but didn't get much ball to work with in space. Bungled a restart/touchfinder to give Ireland easy territory. Injury slowed him in the later stages. - (A6/D4/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

14. Tommy Seymour: Overran Huw Jones when a try was begging at the end of the first half and could perhaps have assisted another had he kicked rather than gathered Finn Russell's grubber. Conspired with Maitland to gift the ball to Murray for the game's first try. Took some high balls well but needs to be sharper than this against top sides. - (A5/D6/B5/I4) Overall: 5/10

15. Stuart Hogg: Was looking sharp until a flying Peter O'Mahony elbow to his nether regions consigned him to a role as an angry ad-smasher. Is undergoing treatment for a shoulder strain. - (A7/D5/B5/I6) Overall: 6/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Impact

16. Fraser Brown: Good to see him back but looked a little rusty. Like almost everyone else, couldn't stay over the ball long enough to steal the turnover but still gave it a shot. - (A4/D5/B5/I6) Overall: 5/10

17. Jamie Bhatti: Took part in a big effort to stop an Irish maul from going anywhere useful without being penalised. Scrum was stable when he was on the park. - (A5/D5/B5/I7) Overall: 5.5/10

18. D'Arcy Rae: Earned his first cap, similar story to Bhatti. Tough to get a foothold against Ireland when they smell the win. - (A5/D5/B5/I6) Overall: 5.5/10

19. Ben Toolis: n/a - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

20. Rob Harley: Played a full half and a bit first as a blood injury then a replacement for Ryan Wilson - (A4/D3/B5/I5) Overall: 4.5/10

21. Ali Price: Quick service and one sniping run perhaps showed his relative merits but a knock on trying to pick the ball up from the base perhaps summed up Scotland's day, if not his. - (A5/D5/B4/I6) Overall: 5/10

22. Pete Horne: When he came on he brought a bit more direct running to the midfield in an effort to create space further out but by that point Ireland had a stranglehold on the lead. - (A7/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5.5/10

23. Blair Kinghorn: On after just quarter of an hour and had another great game in attack, making comfortably the most metres of anyone on the park and able to glide or punch through holes as required. Elsewhere his game needs a bit of work and a dropped high ball under little pressure proved one of Scotland's many momentum-throttlers. - (A8/D5/B5/I4) Overall: 5.5/10

Squad Injury Update: Ryan Wilson will play no further part in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations due to knee ligament damage and is back in the care of Glasgow. Huw Jones and full-back Stuart Hogg suffered knee and shoulder ligament injuries respectively in the same game but remain with the Scotland squad for treatment. Richard Cockerill revealed on Monday that Magnus Bradbury is expected to take part in this weekend’s PRO14 clash with the Dragons.

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24 comments on “Scotland v Ireland: Player Ratings

  1. Scotty on

    Largely agree with the overall ratings though think Finn was probably our best back. Also not sure that Kinghorn should have the lowest score for influence out of the subs, as you rightly said he made more meters than anyone on the park!

    • Rory Baldwin on

      It’s a tricky one, and highlights possibly some issues with our 4th metric, which is “influence” for backs but struggles to be all things for all positions. Usually use this for things like successful tactical or goal kicks/tries/creativity that perhaps don’t fall under strictly “attack” or “defence”. Any score starts at 6 if you won, 5 if you lost so I only knocked 1 influence off Blair for that fumbled high ball. His attack score is high to account for his attacking breaks though. Perhaps harsh as you say, the other backs on the bench did little either right or wrong, but conversely lost no marks!

  2. Busy Little Bee on

    I’m not that interested in individual player ratings in any sport and sure enough these are nonsense, no offence. Most of the ratings are too low and it’s a nonsense 4.5 Harley is only slightly below basically everyone else.
    Very fine margin stuff went against us on Saturday, ref calls weren’t in our favour and key knock-ons at key moments. The overall performance was encouraging and unless I imagined it we had much the better of the first half and were strangled out of it in the second along with our own key errors. I’ve no problem Seymour getting a 5 as his was a howler and Harley deserves a 2 maximum, he did well not to get carded so there’s his 2, but the rest of the marks reek of ‘the scoreline went against us so nobody gets a 7’, which is nonsense. It’s clear to me this was a more convincing performance overall than when we beat Ireland 2 years ago, but the fine margin stuff all went against us this time unlike 2 years ago. I bet all the players were rated 7+ 2 years ago. A load of bollocks in my humble opinion.

    • Cammy Black on

      Hi Busy Little Bee. Thanks for your feedback. There are lots of people who do enjoy the player ratings so we won’t be getting rid of them.
      We’ve put a lot of work into trying to make them different and more transparent than other ratings that are out there. If you don’t like player ratings in general then the best thing for you is to not read any of our articles entitled “player ratings”. That should give you a wee clue as to their content and so you can just skip past them without the need to post pithy comments. Thanks

      • Busy Little Bee on

        haha OK Cammy B. It’s not an attack on this site in particular, all media outlets do it. They look at the result and work backwards to decide individual ratings. That’s the only explanation as I see it, and it’s the wrong way of doing it because one-off match results can tell a lie about the performances within it.

        Anyway I will stay off any ‘player rating’ articles in future unless I again catch wind of something as outrageous as 4.5 Rob Harley on Saturday, in which case I couldn’t let it pass. 4.5 Harley and 6/6.5 Strauss/Ritchie doesn’t add up to me.

        Anyway thanks for all the content on the site, most of it is hugely enjoyable.

      • Rory Baldwin on

        Can’t speak for other sites but for us the result only covers where they start from (5 or 6) then we focus on individual performance. Which is why I actually thought we weren’t that bad up till about the hour mark but found the scores came out a bit low.

    • Rory Baldwin on

      The scores are averages built from watching their performance/impact in certain areas and taking into account some stats too. Plenty could have had a 7 but they’d have to perform well in all areas not just a few. The effects of mistakes in the second half largely brought down decent scores in the first. For example, your hero Dan Parks would have found it pretty difficult to score highly: his influence score would have been right up there for the tactical and goal kicking (on some days possibly even a 10), but missing tackles or not making any line breaks would keep his averages down.

      Anyway, you’re welcome not to read it if it is not your cup of [insert beverage of choice].

      • Merlot on

        If I could make a suggestion to develop the “player ratings” – and hopefully improve them. Although I agree the breakdown is a key area, I am not sure whether this applies to all positions.
        Perhaps the 3rd metric would be better as “Specialty”.
        For props – scrummaging.
        For hookers – lineouts.
        Second rows – scrums/lineouts.
        Backrows – breakdown.
        Halfbacks – passing/kicking from hand.
        Centres – passing/breakdown.
        Back3 – catching/chasing kicks.
        This would at least keep the focus on the players “core jobs”. It’s not a hooker’s primary job to jackal, or a lock’s to drive over a maul, or a winger’s to make a try saving tackle. In any case these additional skills can always be scored as attack or defence or influence.

      • Frozen North on

        Maybe a scoring system that is modelled on two aspects; the basic game and the specialist role.

        I. E getting the basics right would mean no poor passes, not giving away a penalty in our half of the pitch, no poor decision making; like kicking when a pass would be the right call or trying an out the backdoor pass, when going to ground would be the right call, not missing more than one tackle, not being part of an obstruction, seeing and taking the opportunities presented, getting off the ground and quickly returning to position, going flat out for every kick chase, choosing the correct opponent to cover tackle, not losing it on the pitch through frustration or whatever etc. So that would give each player upto a max of five points.

        Specialist aspects would be as per other posts re jackling, line outs, creating 2 on 1’s etc and would define the remaining points?

  3. Andrew McGavin on

    BLB, can’t agree that this was a better performance than two years ago. Scotland were all over Ireland for the first half in 2017 and were a fingertip away from securing a try bonus point before half time with fast, innovative rugby. Ireland played much better in the second half two years ago than they did in this game and Scotland found a way to come back from being behind to secure the win.

    We were decent in the first half at the weekend, but lacked any real penetration. I think this is because we missed Hogg’s line-breaking momentum/fear-factor when he went off, and our other key, experienced backs (Jones/Maitland/Seymour) were all 5-10% off the pace in confidence and timing.

    • Kevin Millar on

      For me in the 2017 game Scotland were pretty clinical about taking their chances but for the most part Ireland completely dominated that game. Scotland only broke 9 tackles in the 80 minutes – Ireland 32. They also had a massive advantage in possession and territory and Scotland really only survived to see out the game through a combination of some last ditch defensive interventions and Irish wastefulness.

      • Busy Little Bee on

        Kevin Millar I totally agree. But actual results cloud most people’s perceptions. Results don’t always tell the whole story though. The performance on Saturday was better than against Ireland 2 years ago, even factoring in the dreadful couple of individual performances.
        E.g. Strauss made 29 tackles apparently and carried hard how many times – I think losing the ball in contact once. Had the ref made all the right calls and Seymour/Harley not made schoolboy errors (both factors out of Strauss’ control) we’d probably have won and I can guarantee Strauss would’ve been given an 8+ by all media instead of the 6.

  4. Andrew McGavin on

    The Jones to Seymour pass was the pivotal moment in the match for us. Unlike the ratings comments, having re-watched it 10+ times at normal speed and slowed down, I’m not convinced Seymour over-ran it, but think it was more that Jones should have released it a stride or two sooner as Seymour was streaking in. Jones didn’t need to get as close to the defender to commit him.

    The same thing happened last year when Jones made a great break against Ireland in Dublin. Just needed to pass to Hogg for us to score but he waited too long to try to commit the defender (Sexton) and hurried his pass, missing Hogg altogether. On both occasions, there was no need to get so close to the defender to commit him because of the pace of the attack.

  5. Ńéíł on

    Why not just remove the extra ratings systems for the positions to which it does really apply and balance the score for 2/3 options.

    Perhaps we could add Coach and assistant coach ratings also ?
    Base it on selection, Strategy and the ability to change the game during the game and the influence it has/not has.

    Feel these ratings are abit generous in comparison to the other players for J.Gray and Seymour and stinks of Glasgow bias, in general they had as good a game as the others but where responsible for key moments/momentum shifts, Seymour for that ridiculous pass to maitland which no winger was going to regather and partly for not holding his depth on that 20 + phase attack just before half time.
    J.Gray had the lineout ball stolen of him when he was the jumper twice and it was right after soaking up huge amounts of pressure and getting back up into Irish territory.

    Thanks for posting updates on the injuries though, any updates on Skinner/Hardie ?

    and who you have come in at 13 in Jones it unavailabile for France ?

  6. Merlot on

    The second half was a real disappointment.
    OK Murray’s try in the first half shouldn’t have happened, firstly because it should have been a Scotland penalty for O’Mahony’s tackle on Hogg, and secondly because Seymour should NEVER have tried that pass to Maitland. Maybe he thought Sean was as tall as Tony Stanger, as that’s the only man I can think of who would’ve caught it. However the first half score of 10-12 seemed fair to me, given the rub of the green went to the men in green.
    So I thought – at half time – “OK but we’re at home, we’ll get the bounce of the ball/referees calls in the second half”. Obviously we didn’t.
    It seemed that every mistake we made was compounded by a referees decision. For example the knock-on in attack (our fault), leading to a scrum which collapsed. Ref gives Ireland the penalty!!!
    Alternatively the referees decision is compounded by our mistake. There we are in a great attacking position (with a 4 on 2 overlap) and Jonny Gray gets penalised for something everyone else has been doing “scot-free” all game – clearing out beyond the ball. A couple of kicks to the corner later and Dell and Harley decide to headbutt each other rather than tackle Carbery.
    IF we had not made so many mistakes, we would’ve won.
    IF the referee had not given so many 50-50 calls to Ireland, we would’ve won.
    IF I’d been told we would only lose by 9, I would’ve bet, and I would’ve won.
    Not angry, just disappointed. And upset at losing Wilson and possibly Hogg.

    • Andrew McGavin on

      For one specific example of Ireland clearing beyond the ruck without being penalised, check out James Ryan taking out Strauss 21 minutes 35 seconds into the game.

  7. The Chiel on

    Not sure why on earth Maitland gets pelters for seeing his mate catch the ball under pressure, and try to get there as quickly as possible to get over him and ruck. 100% Seymours fault for throwing such an utterly ridiculous pass.
    Agree about the shovel pass at the end, but all the wheels had come off by then.

  8. sceptic 9 on

    So Laidlaw along with Wilson and Richie were our best players. Well Richie was and Wilson was while he was on. But how on earth does Laidlaw get to the same level?
    In open play its like playing a man short because he does not snipe or break, defence can happily ignore him – that is influence but not a positive one. In the red zone, he is so slow he doesn’t wait for our next pod to set up, he waits for their defence. And no mention of the interception he threw, intercepted because he has no fast spin pass, just a lob- and his usual half step wind up which delays the lob.
    Time you got those embarrassing pics back off Grieg (smiley thing)

  9. My Cocaine on

    The criticism of the referee these past days, is showing poor form, and we’re in danger of seeing rugby values going out the window. The ref is always right, even when he’s wrong. That’s how I was brought up to play the game.

    Poite is not to blame for forward passes or knock-ons, or our inability to score before the stroke off half-time. That’s what cost us the game – poor execution and lack of accuracy at the vital moments. That’s what separates good teams from bad.

    • greengumbo on

      “Rugby values”?

      Alright “My Cocaine”!

      In the professional era the ref has to take the blame when they so obviously get stuff wrong or have such a poor game. Its literally their paid profession. The old “ref is always right” really was always only on the pitch while playing. Afterwards and after reviewing ref performances I think its absolutely fair game to call out poor and avoidable mistakes.

  10. Highland Bear on

    Having changed the scoring matrix it would be premature to alter it again with allowing it to bed in for the Six Nations. At the end is the time to review and seek feedback how it can be refined.
    If one was to score the team on the basis of their performance in each half, the first would be a solid 7/10 while the second I would rate as a 4. Concerning that there was such a drop of in performance but attributble to the Irish coaches putting right weaknesses in the team, and the far weaker Scottish bench.
    Its interesting, with the benefit of hindsight to review the pre-match head-to-heads. Johnson, Ritchie and Kinghorn, 3 of the rookies overperformed whereas Gray and Jones underperformed.

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