Player Ratings: A tale of two halves
OPINION: It was a tale of two halves for Scotland.
They were blown off the park in the opening 40 minutes, with Wales looking odds on for a convincing victory in the Scottish capital. The second half was a different affair however.
15. Blair Kinghorn 4
Kicked loosely in the opening quarter and was found badly wanting in a one on one with Worcester’s Josh Adams, having been out of position when Wales found some space on the Scottish flanks. Got up gingerly after knocking the ball on in the 25th minute and was replaced by Adam Hastings six minutes later. A game to forget for the otherwise in form youngster.
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14. Tommy Seymour N/A
In his 50th start for Scotland, the Lion’s day came to an abrupt end with what looked like a serious upper limb injury in the 20th minute.
13. Nick Grigg 6
A couple of solid carries for Grigg marked him out in the second half. However, the midfield was an area dominated by the Welsh today.
12. Pete Horne 5
Fell off a tackle on Jonathan Davies for Wales’ second try. Will have to take his share of the blame for Scotland’s patchy, passive defending. Was stripped in the 48th minute (Davies again), but was saved by the whistle.
11. Darcy Graham 8
Looked electric with ball in hand in opening exchanges and a stunning break in the 20th minute brought the subdued Scottish crowd into the game. A livewire all day in attack and solid in defence. Deserved his try and was missed when he left the field injured in the 64th minute.
10. Finn Russell 7
Returned from his HIA layoff, and looked a tad rusty. Found himself defending on the wing for Wales’ first try. Starved of anything resembling a platform in the first half, the Racing playmaker never had an opportunity to show his remarkable wares. The second half was a different story, with a lovely inside ball to McGuigon for Graham’s try a highlight.
9. Ali Price 6
Brought the increased tempo to Scotland that was expected following his selection over incumbent nine and captain Greig Laidlaw. His attempts to add urgency to Scotland’s play were not always met with the support of his teammates. Gave away a crucial and silly penalty when tackling Anscombe without the ball in the 75th minute.
1. Allan Dell 7
Won a turnover early on and made nine tackles in a first half spent on the back foot. A fantastic 46th-minute carry awoke an up until then justifiably depressed Murrayfield crowd – injuring Liam Williams in the process.
2. Stuart McInally 5
Edinburgh hooker and club captain McInally took on the national team captaincy for the third time in the absence of Laidlaw. It didn’t suit him. Spent the first-half tackling with the rest of the Scottish pack. Conceded two of Scotland’s four first-half penalties. A forgettable turn for the usually excellent Scot.
3. Willem Nel 6
The tighthead scrummaged well on return from injury but his trademark carrying was nowhere to be seen.
4. Grant Gilchrist 6
Carried when he had to in the second half but missed a couple of tackles in a what was a marathon defensive session in the first. Was outshone by the industrious Welsh engine room of Adam Beard and Alun Wyn Jones.
5. Jonny Gray 6
A standard bearer in the physicality stakes – he tackled all day. The Glasgow lock will be disappointed with how much change the Welsh found carrying in and around the ruck area.
6. Magnus Bradbury 7
The brutality of his carrying was a brilliant subplot, although the blindside will want to check his ball security after being stripped in possession by Hadleigh Parkes.
7. Jamie Ritchie 8
Left the field after 9 minutes for an HIA, but returned. He constantly bedeviled Gatland’s men at the breakdown, and was unlucky to concede one of his two penalties. Grabbed Adams by the collar in an attempt to get his team pumped up, but no one else seemed too interested.
8. Josh Strauss 6
The big number eight carried with his usual workmanlike efficiency when he got a chance with the ball in hand but was utterly outshone by opposite number Ross Moriarty.
16. Fraser Brown 6
Got straight in the action when replacing McInally and played his part in a bright finish, although was also part of two lineout mauls which failed to make their way over the line.
17. Gordon Reid NA
Came on too late to rate.
18. Simon Berghan 6
Came on in the heat of battle and didn’t look out of place in the thick of things.
19. Ben Toolis 6
Came on for a knackered Gray on 65 minutes but didn’t impose himself in the short time he had on the pitch to shine.
20. Hamish Watson 9
Came on as HIA replacement for Ritchie before leaving as a blood injury. Returned in the 65th minute with two thunderous runs, beating six defenders. The very definition of an impact substitution.
21. Greig Laidlaw
Was slow when Scotland needed speed in the final quarter. He didn’t do much wrong but you felt the timing of his entry into the battle wasn’t ideal.
22. Adam Hastings 8
Made a try-saving hit on Josh Adams in the 38th minute and looked sore afterwards. Made excellent contributions anytime he got near the play.
23. Byron McGuigan 7
Looked scatty at times, bright at others. Took a quick lineout in the 56th minute which led to a penalty on the other side of the pitch. Ran a stunning line for Darcy Graham’s try.