The Verdict: Scotland player ratings v Ireland

Undoubtedly a step back from the performance levels in the wins over Italy and France – still vastly improved from last season’s embarrassment in the final round of the 6 Nations though. But who was up and who was down among the Scotland 23?

BACKS

Stuart Hogg – 8
Having a baby has turned Stuart into a Scotland great. Given that the arrival of his 2nd child appears to have turned Jonny Sexton into an injury-feigning, greeting-faced whinger would it be premature to suggest Hoggy has the snip?
Tommy Seymour – 6
Spent almost the entire game chasing kicks like some excitable labrador. Unfortunately kicking was so poor he only managed to ‘fetch’ one.
Duncan Taylor – 7
Scotland’s breakout star of the Championship. I’m looking forward to the champagne swigging after our inevitable 6 Nations victory in 2017 so that I can use an endless supply of ‘Drunken Taylor’ puns.
Alex Dunbar – 5
1 point off for the card. As Nigel Owens would have put it “This is not judo”.
Tim Visser – 6
Singlehandedly stopped a maul at one stage (I had to rewind twice to confirm delirium had not set in). Reminded me of this tweet from his former clubmate:

Duncan Weir – 5
Seemingly lacks one essential component to fit in to the Scottish backline – the ubiquitous hipster beard…Also didn’t show the confidence he displayed for Glasgow in recent weeks.
Greig Laidlaw – 6
Unfortunately the message got through too late. Faithfully passed on by Nathan Hines direct from Big Vern Cotter – “If the wind changes it’ll stay like that”. How else to explain the eternally puzzled look on his coupon when dealing with referee, Pascal Gauzere?!?

FORWARDS

Alasdair Dickinson – 6
Ditched the scrum cap in the 2nd half – probably having taken the huff that there weren’t enough setpieces for his liking.
Ross Ford – 6
It would be kind of cool to see Fordy Hulk out just once. He’s just too calm – it’s not natural!
WP Nel – 6
3 of the game’s first 4 penalties were for tighthead props not rolling away quickly enough. The problem for WP and Mike Ross is start rolling too quickly and with that body shape the centrifugal force would put them through the front row of the stands.
Richie Gray – 7
At least with Jonny missing he had less of a battle for mirror time to do his hair. Used the extra energy to good effect. Will he now return to France and slump back into a rut again?
Tim Swinson – 6
The only Scot actually knock an Irishman back in the tackle (he did it twice) and winner of the game’s highly coveted “Best player named Tim” award.
John Barclay – 5
1 off for the card. No excuses with his level of experience – he’s had to adapt to the ‘interpretations’ of George Clancy before so M. Gauzere should have been a walk in the park.
John Hardie – 7
He gets so banged up by the end of a game he must just be like one giant walking bruise. Wasn’t able to impose himself physically the way he does normally – was the shorter turnaround a factor?
Ryan Wilson – 5
Moved to openside when Josh Strauss came on. I mean we’ve got a guy with hundreds of games at 7 under his belt playing out of position at 6 but by all means let’s ignore that Vern…

SUBSTITUTES

Stuart McInally – a fine performance but joined the Finn Russell and John Barclay hall of shame for not being able to find his man when a try was on.
Rory Sutherland – took out 226 minutes of bench-sitting frustration by putting CJ Stander on his backside with a huge carry.
Moray Low – waving imaginary cards at the ref is not cool.
Rob Harley – with the ref happy to let the attacking side away with most things at rucks he was the ideal player to bring on.
Josh Strauss – carried well and brought a bit more power to the Scottish back row
Henry Pyrgos – unused.
Peter Horne – hard to know if it was the change at 10 or the match situation that drove Scotland forwards late on but his passing was certainly very good.
Sean Lamont – was this his final Test match?

The ‘Official’ On Top Of The Moon Scot of the match was..Stuart Hogg. Back to back SotM awards for for the man who scored or had an assist for 5 of Scotland’s tries in this tournament. Glasgow will be praying he brings the same sort of form back to Scotstoun for the final 6 games of their playoff push.


For the avoidance of doubt:
10 – DC v the Lions, 2nd Test 2005
9 – excellent
8 – very good
7 – good
6 – decent
5 – pass marks
4 – poor
3 – very poor
2 – waste of space
1 – waste of oxygen
0 – comatose
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