Player Ratings: Murrayfield Misfire
OPINION: Scotland were unable to derail France’s dreams of a Grand Slam as the visitors recorded a bonus-point win at Murrayfield.
Tries from Willemse, Yoram Moefana, Gael Fickou and Jonathan Danty and a Damien Penaud double sealed victory for the outstanding visitors.
Scotland’s tries came from the excellent Rory Darge on his first start, and a consolation from Duhan van der Merwe, but it was another day of disappointment for Gregor Townsend’s side.
A campaign that started so promisingly with a Calcutta Cup triumph over England now threatens to yield just two wins.
Gavin Harper rates the Scotland players
15. Stuart Hogg – 6
A day where very little went the skipper’s way. Dropped a clanger with the line at his mercy in the first half and couldn’t regather his own chip after the break. Battled gamely, but unable to drag his side back into the game.
14 Darcy Graham – 6.5
Outstanding catch from Hogg’s restart to get Scotland’s first attacking chance. Outmuscled by Penaud as Moefana scored, but was probably – again – Scotland’s most dangerous attacker.
13. Chris Harris – 5
Another quiet showing in attack, but some good hands that should have put Hogg away. Off at half-time.
12. Sione Tuipulotu – 5
Showed some lovely touches against Wales but this week wasn’t able to have the same impact as his opposite number Danty.
11. Duhan van der Merwe – 6.5
Kept quiet in the first two games but made a pair of electric breaks in the first half, both creating opportunities out of nothing. Deserved his late consolation score.
10. Finn Russell – 5
An erratic display, not for the first time. His aimless kick allowed Dupont space for the opening French try. A dropped ball as Scotland attack and bounced by Danty in the build-up to the visitors’ third score. On the back foot for the second half and hooked after an hour
9. Ali Price – 5
A real mixed bag: Unlucky not to score himself, and a lovely break on 48 minutes, but wasn’t able to stop Fickou on the stroke of half-time. A moment of indecision costly inside the opening two minutes of the second period.
1. Pierre Schoeman – 6.5
The Edinburgh prop was the pick of the starting front five. Battled hard – made six carries as he attempted to take the game to the visitors, and held his own against the giant Atonio.
2. Stuart McInally – 5
Scrum and lineout was solid against a much-vaunted French pack. Contributed five carries in his 55 minutes, but only two tackles with Scotland largely on the back foot.
3. Zander Fagerson – 6
Held his own against Baille, one of the world’s best looseheads, but nowhere near the same impact around the field. Made the most carries in the front five before he went off.
4. Sam Skinner – 5
Back in the second row today, where he looks most comfortable at this level. Some powerful carrying in close quarters, and four tackles in the first half.
5. Grant Gilchrist – 5
Lineout was effective on his watch, while he added four first half tackles. Often used as a decoy carrier to get the backs away, and linked with Russell well there.
6. Nick Haining – 4
Not the same impact as Jamie Ritchie, who is badly missed. Should’ve put Duhan van der Merwe away and will be disappointed to have let Fickou on his outside to score. Didn’t have the required impact at the breakdown.
7. Rory Darge – 7.5
Capped his outstanding first start with a first Test try. Add to that four excellent turnovers, plus the Glasgow man led the way in defence. Stripped of the ball as Penaud scored the visitors’ fifth.
8. Magnus Bradbury – 6
His first Test start for two years and looked back close to his best. Did his best to win Scotland the gain line
16. George Turner – 5
On for McInally for the final 25 minutes but unable to have any impact. Lineout also endured a couple of wobbles
17. Oli Kebble – 5
On for the final quarter to replace Schoeman. Made a couple of carries.
18. WP Nel – 5
The veteran replaced Fagerson for the final 25 minutes.
19. Jamie Hodgson – 5
Edinburgh lock on for club-mate Gilchrist to earn a second cap after autumn debut. Put in the hard yards.
20. Andy Christie – 4
Saracens man, a late addition to the bench, on early in the second half for injured Haining. A difficult debut as the French took control. Strong in contact but unable to shore up the breakdown.
21. Ben White – 5
Also on inside the first 10 minutes of the second half as Price departed for a HIA. Returned late on but unable to add any spark.
22. Blair Kinghorn – 5.5
Picked off the French defenders well to free van der Merwe in a cameo that had been quiet until that point.
23. Mark Bennett – 6.5
Added a spark in the midfield when he came on at the break for his first cap since the 2018 summer tour. On a tough day, one of few positives.
By Gavin Harper, Rugbypass