Player Ratings: Scotland make a big statement
OPINION: Scotland made 14 changes to the XV which started against Samoa last week. Only Darcy Graham, who switches wings, remained. It was the most changes Scotland have ever made between matches at a Rugby World Cup.
Despite the mass changes, it was an excellent and convincing performance.
The opening 22-minutes were as close to perfect from this Townsend’s side as any Scottish fan could hope, although ratings must be tempered against the quality of the opposition, or lack there of. Scotland ran riot, and if it wasn’t for a few questionable forward pass calls would have doubled Ireland’s score against the same opposition.
1. GORDON REID
The slimmed-down prop has now started at loose-head prop in 13 of his last 19 test appearances. Got about the park well and even made himself useful in a few attacking moves.
2. GEORGE TURNER
He’s the only hooker to score a hat-trick while representing a Tier 1 nation in a test match this century and grabbed the Scottish bonus point with a clever break off a rolling maul.
3. ZANDER FAGERSON
Looked bullish in the loose. Taken off at halftime, which hopefully isn’t an injury concern.
4. SCOTT CUMMINGS
One of eight players to have made their test debut for Scotland in 2019 and one of three to have been
included in their RWC 2019 squad. A solid outing.
5. BEN TOOLIS
Not in the match-day 23 in Scotland’s opening round defeat against Ireland at RWC 2019, or for their second match against Samoa. Part of a dominant pack here.
6. JOHN BARCLAY (captain)
The last time John Barclay captained Scotland was in the 2018 Six Nations against Italy. A solid shift for the talisman. Strolled in unopposed for a try with five minutes to spare.
7. FRASER BROWN
Smiled when taken off after 30 minutes. It’s hard to rate a player playing out of position, even if it is one that he’s familiar with. David Pocock won’t be losing sleep but it was a solid impersonation of an openside none-the-less, his first appearance for Scotland in the position.
8. RYAN WILSON
Technically excellent at the base of the scrum, making those around him look great. Industrious.
9. GEORGE HORNE
Took an opportunistic try in the 22nd minute. Picked up a second after benefitting from a superb run from Graham. Scampered in for a third in the 59th minute. Attacked the line with a menace too often lacking in a number 9 jersey. Doesn’t look like a third choice scrumhalf. An outstanding performance.
10. ADAM HASTINGS
Scored two tries in under 20 minutes, Hasting has shown himself to be a realistic rival for the 10 jersey and not just an able stand-in. Cruelly denied a hattrick by Warne Barnes’ odd interpretation of what constitutes a forward pass.
11. DARCY GRAHAM
Was too often asked to make metres in traffic in the first half, which is a flagrant misuse of the Edinburgh tyro. Finally cut loose early in the second half with a 70 metre run from his own 22 – setting up Horne.
12. PETE HORNE
He and his brother were starting their first Rugby World Cup match together. Made metres with every carry, albeit against an at times disinterested Russian defence. Unselfishly put those around him into space with some savvy passing.
13. DUNCAN TAYLOR
Played a key role in Hasting’s first try, the Saracen was as busy off the ball as on it. Kicked intelligently. A real return to form.
14. TOMMY SEYMOUR
Got his first try of the tournament, a well-taken chase down of a grubber. Why do we still feel we continue to await the arrival of the 2017 Seymour?
15. BLAIR KINGHORN
The powerful fullback was eager to take the ball to line but did the more subtle stuff too. Great decision making in attack and a proverbial rock at the back too.
16. STUART MCINALLY
Came on the second half. Spilled the ball once. Took a late try well even if he did let the ball bounce. Other than that, a forgettable personal performance on this occasion for Scotland’s first-choice hooker.
17. SIMON BERGHAN
Came on after halftime. Lovely soft hands for Barclay’s try.
18. WILLEM NEL
Carried like a wild boar in the second half. Looks in the shape of his life too.
19. GRANT GILCHRIST
Started in Scotland’s opening round defeat against Ireland at RWC 2019, as well as in their second match against Samoa. Had little more than a cameo role here.
20. MAGNUS BRADBURY
With Hamish Watson gone, Bradbury is one of the few Scottish forwards that can be depended upon to make the gain line (and then some in his case). His bullocking runs and his ability to put others into space make him a standout whenever he’s on the pitch. You wonder why he didn’t make the original RWC squad.
21. JAMIE RITCHIE
22. HENRY PYRGOS
Not in the original 31-man squad, but called up as an injury replacement for Ali Price. Linked up for one Scottish try and looked useful.
23. CHRIS HARRIS
Spilled his first ball and looked a bit over-eager to impress.
By Ian Cameron, @RugbyPass