Player ratings: Outplayed
OPINION: It would be churlish to judge Scotland too harshly after another titanic chapter in Japanese rugby history.
The red and whites were great value for their win.
Here’s how we rated the Scottish players!
Executed an important tackle that led to a turnover in the 3rd minute. The lightweight prop struggled badly at scrum time however. Was angry at Ben O’Keefe, who seemed to blame the loosehead for Scotland’s scrum woes.
2. FRASER BROWN
Brown switched from flanker back to hooker for Scotland’s final pool phase match. Tried to milk a card after getting smashed by Kazuki Himeno, which wasn’t a good look.
3. WILLEM NEL
Made 14 tackles in the first half alone. Worked so, so hard. Part of a Scotland scrum under the pump- although they improved in secondhalf. Deserved his try that ignited a Scottish fightback.
4. GRANT GILCHRIST
Made a nuisance of himself all evening, but out-goosed by smaller and more efficient Japanese opponents.
5. JONNY GRAY
The Glasgow lock was everywhere, tackling all in front of him and getting through a mountain of work. Lucky to get away with an accidental head-on-head hit on Shota Horie. Threw the assist for Fagerson’s try.
6. MAGNUS BRADBURY
He and Gilchrist missed a telling tackle on Matsushima in the lead up to second Japanese try. Scotland needed his power on both sides of the ball, but it was only there in fits and starts.
7. JAMIE RITCHIE
Scotland’s outstanding forward. Huge if questionable turnover in the 11th minute with Japan on the Scottish tryline. Did everything he could and deserves the least amount of blame.
8. BLADE THOMSON
Fell off too many tackles. Looked anonymous for much of the game. A few athletic carries were the highlight of the rather minor role he played in proceedings.
9. GREIG LAIDLAW (captain)
Laidlaw being named captain for the fifth time at a World Cup equaled the Scotland record held by David Sole and Bryan Redpath. Spent 52 minutes on the back foot before left the field looking pretty pissed off.
10. FINN RUSSELL
An early block down of a kick didn’t faze him, brilliantly scampering through for a try in the 5th minute. Looked to play ball and didn’t lack for endeavour despite the magnitude of the mountain Scotland were climbing in the secondhalf.
11. DARCY GRAHAM
Bit in leaving Scotland exposed in the 18th minute, leading to Japan’s first try. A costly mistake. Looked defensively naive at times.
12. SAM JOHNSON
Part of a midfield that was completely harried and outplayed by their opposite numbers. Needed to stand-up but he just didn’t get the opportunity.
13. CHRIS HARRIS
The lone bright spark in the midfield. Made metres whenever he got on the ball and made a few decent breakaways.
14. TOMMY SEYMOUR
Tried to make things happen on the odd opportunity he got the ball. Had a quiet tournament by his own high standards.
15. STUART HOGG
Poor. Did not look himself with multiple missed tackles and seeming inability to play himself into the game.
16. STUART MCINALLY
Brought huge energy to the game. Question has to be asked: why didn’t he start?
17. GORDON REID
Scrums were noticeably better with Reid and Fagerson on.
18. ZANDER FAGERSON
Deserves huge credit for being there to receive the pass from Gray for his 55th minute try.
19. SCOTT CUMMINGS
Looked eager and willing when he came on and played a crucial part in Fagerson’s try.
20. RYAN WILSON
Scotland improved markably when he came on. He gave them the impetus and speed they lacked for the first 52 minutes.
22. PETE HORNE
Did a decent job chasing the game. Challenging game to come into.
23. BLAIR KINGHORN
Put pressure on the Japanese in his short time on the pitch.