Player Ratings: The flower of Scotland
OPINION: Scotland bounced back from defeat to Australia a week ago to record their first win of this Autumn Nations Series campaign against a stubborn Fiji at Murrayfield.
The hosts didn’t have it all their own way, and were behind at the break thanks to an Adam Hastings try on 40 minutes.
Vern Cotter’s visitors faded after the halftime, and tries from Duhan van der Merwe and Ben White sealed a 28-12 win for the Scots despite a far-from-convincing performance.
They’ll need to go up several levels – and give away at least half the penalties – if they are to challenge the All Blacks next weekend.
Gavin Harper rates the Scottish players:
15. Stuart Hogg – 6
The former skipper had precious little ball from which to fire in attack, but nearly put Graham away as Fiji failed to deal with a kick. He was sent to the sin-bin as Fiji scored their second try amid a wave of Scottish penalties, and will have been relieved to hear Nic Berry’s whistle as Botia barged over shortly after half-time.
14. Darcy Graham – 7
The Murrayfield crowd comes alive when the Edinburgh man gets the ball, and rightly so. A constant threat ball in hand and makes good ground post-contact. Was out when Habosi scorched past. Named man of the match shortly before he was sent to the sin-bin.
13. Chris Harris – 6
Excellent defensive read on the dangerous Nayacalevu and threw a lovely pass to put van der Merwe over for his try, but too few opportunities to attack for the Gloucester man. Withdrawn inside the final quarter with the All Blacks in mind.
12. Cameron Redpath – 6
The Bath man thought he’d scored late on, but was denied by an earlier knock-on. Otherwise a fairly quiet outing on his first Murrayfield start, but some nice touches to link with Hastings and then Kinghorn.
11. Duhan van der Merwe – 7
Cut in half as he came off his wing, but made a couple of good defensive contributions. Did well to reclaim a box kick and set Kinghorn away, then showed his power to score his 13th Test try.
10. Adam Hastings – 6
The Gloucester fly-half was restored to the starting line-up. He scored against Fiji on their previous visit to Edinburgh, and repeated the feat here to put Scotland ahead at the interval. Took a huge hit early in the second half and was forced off.
9. Ali Price – 5
Showed real intent with an early tap penalty that led to a yellow card for the visitors, but picked up a knock in the first half and wasn’t at his best.
1. Pierre Schoeman – 6
An ever-willing carrier and put a big shift in defensively, with 10 tackles in the first half.
2. George Turner – 6
A couple of strong carries either side of the Glasgow hooker burrowing over for the game’s opening score. Lasted only half an hour before he was withdrawn injured.
3. Zander Fagerson – 6
Won a brilliant turnover that allowed Scotland to put Duhan van der Merwe away. Got his side of the scrum up – taking out the Fijian back-row – for Hastings’ try.
4. Richie Gray – 7
Caused the Fijian lineout problems on his first Scotland start since 2017. Another who chipped in with double-figures tackles. The big man nearly galloped over for a rare try, but was hauled down just short.
5. Grant Gilchrist – 5
The Edinburgh man wasn’t able to impose himself on the game as he’d have liked. The lineout – which he runs – did operate better than last week. Made 12 tackles, none missed, before departing on the hour.
6. Jamie Ritchie (captain) – 7
Four carries and 10 tackles for the skipper, who led from the front. Also showed clever footwork to beat the giant Fijians on a couple of occasions.
7. Hamish Watson – 5
A quiet day at the office for the openside, especially with ball in hand where his only two contributions both came after the break. Chipped in with 11 tackles before making way 10 minutes after the resumption.
8. Matt Fagerson – 7
Another big shift from the younger of the Fagerson brothers, who topped Scotland’s tackle count with 22. Another of the back-row contingent who makes good ground in close quarters through clever footwork.
16. Ewan Ashman – 6.5
On for Turner on the half-hour, the Sale man made an immediate impact when he barrelled through Botia’s would-be tackle off the back of a maul. He was, though, guilty of catching white line fever when he was held up and Scotland had numbers out wide.
17. Rory Sutherland – 6
Ulster’s new recruit given half an hour. On the receiving end of a swinging arm from Habosi for which the winger was shown yellow. Dominant at scrum-time.
18. Murphy Walker – 6
The young Glasgow prop made his international debut inside the final quarter of an hour, and he added to the scrum dominance.
19. Jonny Gray – 5
Joined his brother in the second row for the final quarter, and added his weight to an increasingly dominant pack. Loses a point for a wild pass that put Scotland under needless pressure and led to Graham’s yellow card.
20. Jack Dempsey – 6.5
The Glasgow man, a debutant last week, got half an hour here and won a penalty just after his introduction.
21. Ben White – 6
Given half an hour in place of Price and looked to add much-needed tempo to the game. His kick just had too much for Graham but the London Irish scrum-half sniped over to seal the win.
22. Blair Kinghorn – 6
On early in the second half and showed his pace as he set Hogg and Graham free. Singled out for plenty criticism after his penalty miss against Australia, he landed a lovely touchline conversion from van der Merwe’s try.
23. Sione Tuipulotu – 5
A pretty quiet outing for the Glasgow centre.
By Gavin Harper, @RugbyPass