Player ratings: The scoreboard don’t lie
OPINION: Gregor Townsend’s men came into the Wooden Spoon decider knowing a win was a must, not just for team morale, but potentially with regards to ramifications for his own position.
A watchable first half descended into unwatchable dross in the second, but it’s telling that Scotland ended on the verge of a bonus point and having nilled Italy. If scoreboards don’t lie and all that.
Ian Cameron rates the Scotland players!
15. STUART HOGG (captain) 8
The Hogg cannon was booming in Rome. His resplendent 22nd-minute solo effort – which spanned some 40 metres of the pitch – is a contender for try of the season. It clearly meant tonnes to him too. Asked questions everytime he had ball in hand.
14. SEAN MAITLAND 5.5
The Tokoroa born wing needed a big game after failing to make a mark in the tournament to date. He started brightly too, with a telling hit on Italian 9 Braley. Carried competently and contested aerially. Still, at 31, and with Scotland at the start of an RWC cycle, one wonders if it’s time to give someone else an opportunity.
Continue reading below…
13. CHRIS HARRIS 7
Deserved a shot after two fairly meh performances from Huw Jones. A big physical presence and he defended extremely well. Great rip on Minozzi in the 36th minute. Took his try well. Left for a HIA.
12. SAM JOHNSON 5.5
Italian sides typically defend well against more direct, less elusive centres like Johnson, and he was kept quiet today.
11. BLAIR KINGHORN 6
Where was the fired-up strike runner who shined despite the wind and rain of Murrayfield two weeks previously? A relatively quiet day at the office for the only player to rack up three tries for Scotland in a Six Nations match.
10. ADAM HASTINGS 6
Messed up his first kick at the sticks. Was content to shovel ball out and seemed reluctant to take the ball to the line with any real venom. Ran through a massive gap in the 53rd minute but lost possession which saw the Italians make their way to the Scottish tryline. Grabbed a late try but in truth it was maybe his least impressive game of the tournament so far.
9. ALI PRICE 6
Won his positional battle with the less experienced Callum Braley.
1. RORY SUTHERLAND 7.5
Won back to back penalties in the 6th and 9th minute respectively against giant young Italian tighthead Giosuè Zilocchi. However, the entrance of Marco Riccioni meant the Scots didn’t have it all their own way.
2. STUART MCINALLY 6
Back starting for Scotland, the vice-captain will have been eager to put down a marker. Solid darts but his trademark carrying wasn’t on show today.
3. ZANDER FAGERSON 6
A 4th-minute penalty was an ominous sign for the Glaswegian tighthead, but Scottish fans needed have worried. Got the best of the scrum, although Ben O’Keefe might as well have been tossing a coin at scrum time.
4. BEN TOOLIS 6
Represented Australia’s youth teams in volleyball but chose to pursue a career in rugby. He’s taken that skillset to the Scottish lineout. Tackled well in the absence of Jonny Gray.
5. SCOTT CUMMINGS 6
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. Today, he was one of a number of Scottish players to give away soft penalties. There’s more in him.
6. JAMIE RITCHIE 7.5
He and Watson are an awesome pairing over the ball and in presenting a turnover threat to opposition ball carriers. Scotland turned over Italy 11 times in the first half, and Ritchie and Watson were responsible for the majority of those. Unlucky to fumble with the line beckoning.
7. HAMISH WATSON 8
The dry track suited Watson, who’s maybe the most dangerous attacking openside in the World Rugby at the minute. Italy simply couldn’t deal with him nor fellow ruck troll Ritchie. Nearly responsible for two try assists which on another day might have panned out.
8. MAGNUS BRADBURY 6
Knocked it on with the Italian line beckoning in the 7th minute. With Blade Thomson injured and veteran Ryan Wilson waiting in the wings, you feel Bradbury needs to do more to prove himself as a long term solution at No.8. He didn’t quite do that here.
16. FRASER BROWN 5
Dropped in favour of Stuart McInally. A solid outing in a match that just wanted to end at that stage.
17. ALLAN DELL 5
Part of 5 changes made in the 55th minute. Didn’t have much to do other than the odd tackle and some ruck inspection.
18. WILLEM NEL 5
Hard to rate with the game having lost all structure and momentum.
19. GRANT GILCHRIST 7
Was largely left to tackling duties as the Italian enjoyed an extended period of possession in the second half. A fantastic turnover led to Hasting’s last try.
20. MATT FAGERSON 6
Came on for Bradbury and there was time for some industry and graft, but no fancy stuff.
21. GEORGE HORNE 6
You fancy this game could suit the electric Horne were he to get a run, but the game had become irredeemably scrappy by the time he was on. Did manage at least one trademark break.
22. RORY HUTCHINSON 6
The Saint looked to make stuff happen but his opportunity was pretty limited.
23. BYRON MCGUIGAN NA