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Player Ratings: 'A below-par performance'

OPINION: A hat-trick of tries from Blair Kinghorn saw Scotland home despite a below-par performance against Italy at Murrayfield.

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Gregor Townsend’s side set out to play their best rugby of the championship against an Italian side they’ve found tough to shake in the past, and they fell some way short of that in a disappointing Super Saturday showing.

Missing Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, the hosts weren’t at their attacking best, but an acrobatic finish from Duhan van der Merwe and Kinghorn’s hat-trick – plus six points from his boot – saw the hosts home.

Gavin Harper from RugbyPass rates the Scottish players:

15. Ollie Smith – 6
Hit some lovely lines in attack and showed good strength to get through a couple of tackles. Good hands to put Steyn away late in the first half but didn’t get into the game after the break.

14. Kyle Steyn – 6
Carried well when he got the chance, but should’ve done better as he broke through on half-time. Made a good tackle on Morisi in the same position he was brushed off by Lowe last weekend. A vital intervention to stop Garbisi.

13. Huw Jones – 6.5
Great ball to van der Merwe for the opening score. Great tackle out wide as Italy threatened. Six Nations top try scorer with 4.

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12. Sione Tuipulotu – 7.5
A revelation this season alongside Russell, but didn’t form the same partnership with Kinghorn.

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 6.5
Turned over with his first carry, but made amends with a stunning finish for his 17th Test try. A key defensive read as Italy threatened before putting Kinghorn away for his hat-trick try.

10. Blair Kinghorn – 7
A hat-trick of tries to see Scotland home earns him extra points. Fittingly the pick of the bunch scored once he’d moved to fullback and the jury remains out on his international future at flyhalf.

9. Ben White – 6.5
Threatened the fringes to hold the Italian defence and put the back three under pressure with well-placed kicks.

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1. Pierre Schoeman – 7.5
An ever-willing carrier who made good ground again up with each of his 13 carries. Also put opposite man Riccioni under pressure at the scrum.

2. George Turner – 5
A couple of errant lineouts, which has been a problem throughout the championship. He also irked the Scotland coaches for breaking too early from a maul, but did carry strongly.

3. Zander Fagerson – 6
A busier outing in the loose and won an important turnover penalty at the end of the first half. Penalised twice at the scrum that let the Italians off the hook.

4. Sam Skinner – 6.5
Put the Italian lineout under pressure and made a couple of carries – including one over the top of Garbisi in the first half. He caused the Italian knock-on from which Scotland scored in the final minute.

5. Jonny Gray – 6
Involved in some big collisions when Italy attacked and finished with 14 tackles. Some good hands on a couple of occasions too.

6. Jamie Ritchie – 6
A quiet first half but picked up after the break and put in a big shift defensively. Also led well and asked good questions to ref Angus Gardner.

7. Hamish Watson – 5
The 2021 Lion was busy in defence, but wasn’t able to have much impact at the breakdown. Only got 50 minutes before making way for Matt Fagerson.

8. Jack Dempsey – 8
Followed an excellent performance against Ireland with another. A supremely strong carrier and a huge defensive shift with 20+ tackles, despite a

Replacements

16. Ewan Ashman – 4
A big opportunity for the Sale man given Fraser Brown’s lineout issues, and got plenty of time to make an impact. Gave away a penalty almost immediately after coming on and lost his first lineout.

17. Rory Sutherland – 5
Given the final quarter in place of Schoeman but like Jamie Bhatti last week, nowhere near the impact of the man he replaced.

18. WP Nel – 5
A couple of strong scrums towards the end in a 10-minute cameo.

19. Scott Cummings – 5
On for the final quarter of an hour, replacing Gray, but didn’t have a huge impact on the game.

20. Matt Fagerson – 6.5
One of Scotland’s best performers this year who was unlucky to be on the bench and proved so with 13 tackles and four carries in his half-hour.

21. Ali Price – 6.5
On for White on the hour and made a terrific intercept when Scotland looked under huge pressure. Brought control when it was most needed.

22. Ben Healy – 6
Some good touches in attack after coming on to see Scotland home.

23. Cameron Redpath – 5
Back in for Chris Harris and replaced Tuipulotu with 12 minutes to play. Won a vital turnover by stripping the ball from Garbisi.

@RugbyPass

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