Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Rugby World Cup Pool B: Scotland Player Ratings v Romania

Scotland vs Romania
Scotland vs Romania - graphic © Scottish Rugby Blog


2023 Rugby World CupSat 30th Sep 2023Stade Pierre-Mauroy, LilleKick-off: 8:00 pm (UK)84-0


Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)| TV: ITV1/STV

Romania have had a rough time of the tournament to say the least. A very unenviable fixture list for the The Oaks has led to some big scores thus far at the hands of Ireland and South Africa, but perhaps a ‘second-string’ Scotland side could be a target for an upset? 

It proved not to be for the men in yellow, certainly not helped by their discipline, but ultimately down to a dominant Scotland showing. The result sees Scotland head into the last game of the group stages with some momentum after the required 10 points from the previous 2 games. It’s quite a position for Scotland to be in when we can name four Lions in a team whilst resting your starters, many of whom used to be the first names on the teamsheet, but did any of them do enough to book themselves a place in the 23 this coming Saturday? 

Over 90% tackle success rate and a scoreless board for Romania sees Scotland collect 8 across the board for defence.


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Set Piece

1. Jamie Bhatti: Had a bit of a rough start trying to get ball in hand but came a couple of inches short when he finally managed to. The Scotland scrum didn’t have a totally carefree day but functioned well enough. Will be absolutely kicking himself to have dropped the ball again on his second visit to the tryline. - (A6/D8/B7/S7) Overall: 7/10

2. Ewan Ashman : Looked really dangerous with ball in hand, coming tantalisingly close a few times. Romania didn’t give Scotland much trouble at lineout time, but it was nice to see Scotland not creating their own issues and making fairly clean work of things. - (A8/D8/B7/S7) Overall: 7.5/10

3. Javan Sebastian: First carry of the game showed his missed career as a centre with a step and fairly outrageous dummy. Then again minutes later with a lovely little pop inside for Crosbie. - (A8/D8/B7/S7) Overall: 7.5/10

4. Sam Skinner: A big shift from Skinner in attack and defence, topping the tackle count for the Scots with 13. - (A7/D8/B7/S8) Overall: 7.5/10

5. Grant Gilchrist: A solid night out for the second row pair. Lineout functioned well. - (A7/D8/B7/S8) Overall: 7.5/10

6. Luke Crosbie: Another workman-like performance, solid going forward and even more solid in defence. - (A7/D8/B7/S8) Overall: 7.5/10

7. Hamish Watson: So encouraging to see Mish back to his pinballing best with ball in hand. Coincidence that his form is returning with the re-emergence of the mullet from his headband? I think not. Looked really dangerous in the 10 metre channel. Might have done enough to unseat Rory Darge for the Ireland game perhaps? - (A9/D8/B8/S8) Overall: 8.5/10

8. Matt Fagerson: Such a consistent performer for Scotland and was rewarded with a try to take him ahead of Zander for his country. Competition for the back row next week is hotter than ever and Matt didn’t do his chances any damage tonight. - (A8/D8/B8/S8) Overall: 8/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Influence

9. Ali Price: Looked lively and was rewarded fairly quickly with his first try since the World Cup warm-up in 2019. Nearly broke free again in the second half. - (A7/D8/B7/I7) Overall: 7.5/10

10. Ben Healy: Showed some lovely soft hands in attack and some beef in defence. Kicking from hand wasn’t quite up to scratch comparatively from his accuracy from the tee. A couple of errors here and there, but got into the flow of things. Lovely kick to Redpath for the Harris try and took his own in slick fashion with the one-two with Graham. 11 from 11 off the tee. - (A8/D8/B7/I9) Overall: 8/10

11. Kyle Steyn: Almost impossible for Kyle to shine with such a blinding performance coming from the other side of the pitch, but another solid performance from the Glasgow captain. - (A7/D8/B7/I7) Overall: 7.5/10

12. Cameron Redpath: Looked great with ball in hand, lovely footwork and a lovely ball out the back to set up the first try. Came close early in the second half. - (A8/D8/B8/I8) Overall: 8/10

13. Chris Harris: Held his run well to release Darcy Graham for his second try of the game and broke free to release him again for his hat-trick. - (A8/D8/B8/I8) Overall: 8/10

14. Darcy Graham: Absolute live-wire stuff from the Hawick man, looked the most dangerous player on the park anytime he got the ball into his hands. An easy selection day for POTM. - (A9/D8/B8/I9) Overall: 8.5/10

15. Ollie Smith: Won’t love watching back the fumble on the try line half an hour in, but made up for it 50 minutes in with a superb break and a smart finish to bag himself a well-earned score. - (A8/D8/B8/I7) Overall: 8/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Impact

16. Johnny Matthews: What a support line for his try and then involved again immediately to put Darge through. Some serious speed for a hooker, which comes as absolutely no surprise for Warriors fans. - (A8/D8/B7/I8) Overall: 8/10

17. Rory Sutherland: A solid shift from the replacement front row. - (A7/D8/B7/I6) Overall: 7/10

18. WP Nel: As with Sutherland, did his bit in the loose and the tight. - (A7/D8/B7/I6) Overall: 7/10

19. Scott Cummings: Looked handy off the bench yet again, but has he done enough to fight his way back into the starting XV? - (A7/D8/B7/I7) Overall: 7.5/10

20. Rory Darge: Kept his try scoring stats up yet again with a fourth in five games. - (A8/D8/B7/I7) Overall: 7.5/10

21. George Horne: Price looked quick tonight, but George will always look quicker. - (A8/D8/B7/I7) Overall: 7.5/10

22. Huw Jones: Not his loudest game, but it didn’t need to be. - (A7/D8/B7/I6) Overall: 7/10

23. Blair Kinghorn: Screamed through the centre with ease to put it through to Horner for the Matthews try. - (A8/D8/B7/I7) Overall: 7.5/10

Going into the World Cup things were fairly simple for Scotland. Beat South Africa or beat Ireland to make it beyond the group stages. A few weeks in and they’ve not really become too much more complicated. One fewer team to beat, even simpler. Sure, there’s a touch more to it, beat them by an 8 point margin, or beat them by a 5 point margin if we manage 4 tries. Sure, it’s Ireland. But a simple task, nevertheless.

We shall see on Saturday, watched from the Stade de France, behind the sofa or through gaps in sweat covered hands.

4 Responses

  1. Ratings too high for many players … It was Romania…not SA and not Ireland….not even Tonga.

    1. Relative to what they needed to do and did I feel they are about right. They’re marked relative to the good they did in the game they played, not an objective rugby standard of good where 10 is 2005 Dan Carter and 0 is Dan Parks on an off day…

      1. 0 is perhaps Dan Parks’ sideburns on a bad day; equalled in this era by Ben Healey’s moustache.

  2. Robbie Henshaw and James Ryan are injury concerns apparently and will be assessed today. It would be great if both are out, especially Ryan as he has caused us many problems in the lineout previously.

You might also like these:

The Scotland team to face Chile this weekend has been announced and features 10 changes from the side that beat the USA last weekend.
Rory watches as Scotland reach the half way point in their tour with victory over the USA in Washington.
Craig is joined by Rory and Iain to look at the latest news including Scotland's win over Canada and the upcoming test against the USA.
Gregor Townsend has picked the strongest XV possible from his touring squad for the visit to Washington DC to play the USA, writes Rory.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion