Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland v Tonga Player Ratings

Autumn Nations Series - Scotland v Tonga

Tonga only had a few days together for this one and Scotland’s young backline cut them open on several occasions. It wasn’t all champagne rugby, though.


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Set Piece

1. Pierre Schoeman: Scored a try on debut and will have been happy with a first cap for his adopted nation. Creates instant pressure on Rory Sutherland for a starting slot, and with Sutherland dropping out of the squad today, gives him the shirt to lose. - (A8/D5/B8/S7) Overall: 7/10

2. George Turner: With McInally fit again and Jake Kerr improving fast his only competition is no longer only Dave Cherry and probably needed to see more. Lineout went ok but when the set piece strike moves are going so well you really need to make the best of opportunities. - (A7/D6/B6/S6) Overall: 6.5/10

3. Zander Fagerson: A quiet game by Zander's standards, but like Mish is possibly keeping his powder dry for sterner tests to come where he will undoubtedly be involved. - (A6/D6/B5/S8) Overall: 6.5/10

4. Jamie Hodgson: Did the basics well but the lineout stuttered with either hooker in harness. Can expect far sterner challenges. - (A6/D7/B4/S8) Overall: 6.5/10

5. Rob Harley: Played the "enforcer" circa mid 2000s well (see also Hamilton, J) but we don't particularly need someone to give away a bunch of penalties. There will be a raft of stats to back up an excellent performance, I'm sure, but on the surface it wasn't visible. - (A6/D5/B4/S4) Overall: 5/10

6. Jamie Ritchie: A co-captain's performance topped off with a sublime Toony flip style offload out the back door. Probably the pick of the forwards which bodes well for a continued presence in the full team. - (A8/D8/B7/S7) Overall: 7.5/10

7. Hamish Watson: Only played a half, probably to knock out the rust leftover from the Lions, rather than in expectation of being near his best. - (A6/D6/B6/S6) Overall: 6/10

8. Matt Fagerson: If only we could put to bed the matter of who to play at Number 8. With Bradbury dropping out of the squad again this week, it looks like Fagerson's to lose. Would still like to see more. - (A7/D6/B6/S5) Overall: 6/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Influence

9. Ali Price: The Lions experience looks to have done him no harm. Played with assurance and control. - (A7/D7/B6/I7) Overall: 7/10

10. Blair Kinghorn: Mixed! Missed several conversions and made a couple of rash tackles or almost tackles, but also threw some lovely passes in particular for Mclean's second try. May have done enough in terms of proving his versatility to pin down a bench spot for Scotland, especially on days when Toony picks too many forwards. - (A8/D4/B4/I8) Overall: 6/10

11. Rufus McLean: Took his early tries like an even younger Darcy Graham, scampering through the Tongan defence when everyone else was asleep, before a much more typical wingers try, turning his man inside out with some lovely footwork. Opportunities will be the issue at this level, but Maitland not being in the squad offers a sliver of hope for this young talent to get more caps soon. - (A8/D6/B6/I7) Overall: 7/10

12. Sam Johnson: Looks back to his sharp best and should keep his spot for next week, though he wasn't used in attack as much as we have seen. - (A7/D7/B6/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

13. Sione Tuipulotu: Did the basics well, exemplified by a couple of nice take and gives to create scoring opportunities for others. Will be pleased with his debut but may have to go some to unseat Chris Harris or Huw Jones. - (A7/D6/B6/I7) Overall: 6.5/10

14. Kyle Steyn: Probably the pick of the back three on the day with four tries, excellent defence and kick chase but still not guaranteed a slot against the Wallabies. - (A10/D7/B6/I10) Overall: 8.5/10

15. Darcy Graham: Played out of his usual position but his feet still showed some of that dancing magic that gets the crowd going and he looked dangerous in space. Had to soak up some punishing hits from the Tongan opposition. - (A8/D5/B6/I6) Overall: 6.5/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Impact

16. Stuart McInally: Although Turner did well, the dual class of Fraser Brown and McInally was missed last season. With Brown still injured, McInally may well start next Sunday. - (A6/D8/B6/I7) Overall: 7/10

17. Jamie Bhatti: Gets a real opportunity with Rory Sutherland's continued absence. - (A6/D6/B6/I6) Overall: 6/10

18. Oli Kebble: The conversion to utility prop/international tighthead continues. Was very effective in the loose, however. - (A8/D7/B6/I6) Overall: 7/10

19. Marshall Sykes: Another first cap, but given slightly less time than some of the others. None of the locks shone particularly in this game. - (A6/D6/B6/I6) Overall: 6/10

20. Luke Crosbie: Plays in an area Scotland have some talent but was given a full half to illustrate his capabilities. Put in some vigorous defensive work. - (A6/D7/B7/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

21. Nick Haining: Forced to resurrect his Wester-Force era career as a back for at least some of the second half in the sort of reshuffle only a 6-2 split can create. - (A7/D6/B6/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

22. Jamie Dobie: One of the first caps, valuable experience for the future. - (A6/D6/B7/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

23. Ross Thompson: Missed a couple of conversions and like Kinghorn, has shown he perhaps isn't the finished article as a test level 10 but will be all the better for the experience. - (A7/D6/B7/I7) Overall: 7/10

Squad Update: Magnus Bradbury, Rory Darge, Rory Sutherland and Damien Hoyland all dropped out of the squad today, as props Nick Auterac, Robin Hislop and Javan Sebastian were called up. Scott Cummings also rejoined, but will not be up for selection as he recovers from surgery.

7 Responses

  1. Completely disagree re Turner. He scored, his arrows were solid, he had a lot of strong carries and some in wide channels. His physicality in defence is also above McInally which is why he’ll start on Sunday. Mark should have been 7.5-8.

    1. Absolutely. Mcinally looked off the pace and his arrows were diabolical- he was throwing the ball into the jumpers belly at one point

  2. Obviously you have adjusted the scores based on the quality of the opposition, as an average score of less than 7 seems a bit mean, given we thrashed them with a mostly second string team.
    Presumably if we beat Australia the average score is going to be about 8.5 and if we beat South Africa I would expect nothing less than 9 across the board?

    1. Not particularly. Scores start at 6 for a win same as they would for any opposition (5 for a loss) and then +1 or -1 depending on things noticed during the game under each of the headings. So it is entirely possible to miss things a player does well or badly, or for a glaring error to cancel out something good which is often the case. We may need to weight things, ie was the mistake bad enough to cancel a line break etc?

  3. Think some of the set piece scores look a bit low. Apart from a line-out over throw near the start the set piece was good and never looked under pressure despite having a significantly lighter pack and the tries that were scored off first phase possession.

    Some of the stats from the game are interesting and a bit of a mixed bag. Cant help but feel our 14 handling errors would have been punished by other teams. Ruck stats arent great along with turnovers. Hope the back row is fully firing against Australia.

You might also like these:

Craig is joined by John on the injured reserve list to have a wee look at the URC action from the weekend.
World Rugby has taken steps to ban Dupont's Law amongst three new law changes to be brought in in July.
Scotland came up frustratingly short in their final Six Nations match against Ireland, losing out on a place in WXV1 in the dying minutes. It was a disappointing end to what has been a very good, if not spectacular, tournament from Scotland. Eleanor has the talking points.
Scotland's Womens Six Nations came to a frustrating end with an eminently achievable third place slipping out of their fingers in the final minutes. Skye rates the players.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion