The Verdict: Scotland under 20s player ratings v Ireland (6 Nations 2017)

The official On Top Of The Moon ‘Junior Jock of the Match’ goes to…Matt Fagerson. Displaying his strengths on both sides of the ball he was Scotland’s top carrier and top tackler. He would have been a worthy Man of the Match, even in a losing effort.

BACKS

Darcy Graham – 8
He’s a livewire in attack and showed enough under the high ball to suggest he could have a long term future at full back.
Robbie Nairn – 7
Made a lot of the rare possession he had to work with but maybe needs to practice his skills when it comes to toeing the ball through!
Craig Pringle – 6
He’ll have busier evenings! With the ball sticking close to the setpiece and breakdown in attack and defence opportunities to influence the game from centre were in short supply.
Cameron Hutchison – 7
Attacked a very nice line for his try, finding a rare gap to exploit in what was generally a packed Irish midfield.
Ross McCann – 6
Like Nairn he suffered from a dearth of ball in hand but had a couple of moments that on another night might have broken the game open for Scotland.
Josh Henderson – 8
It might be a wee bit unfair to make comparisons at this early stage in his career but it’s hard not see some of the gallusness and swagger of another Scottish 10 in young Josh.
Andrew Simmers – 6
There has been something of a production line of promising scrum halves through the u20s ranks in recent years. The Heriots’ 9 had a solid enough debut as he looks to follow in the footsteps of the likes of George Horne, Ben Vellacott and Hugh Fraser.

FORWARDS

George Thornton – 7
Is there any finer sight than a prop in full flow? Big George’s classic bust in the first half was one of the highlights of the night.
Fraser Renwick – 7
Good graft in attack and defence – and he was still going strong with 80 minutes on the clock.
Adam Nicol – 7
The cornerstone of a huge effort in the scrum that dominated their Irish peers for almost the entire game.
 Alex Craig – 6
Being tasked with clearing the breakdown is never an easy job against any Irish side but he worked hard to protect Scotland’s ball.
Callum Hunter-Hill – 7
Lead well, making good decisions that maybe suffered in the execution at times. Took responsibility for the lineout as well, pulling in 10 catches.
Luke Crosbie – 6
He was a willing carrier all night although to balance the back row and tidy up the breakdown he may need to take on a more Harley-esque role.
Matt Fagerson – 8
The youngest man in the Scottish pack was also the standout player, outworking everyone. His 6 defenders beaten were more than the combined efforts of the entire Irish team.
Tom Dodd – 6
He may have been English just a few short months ago but let’s face it – that’s never been an impediment to a successful Scottish rugby career…Some handling issues to iron out but still a decent debut, getting him used to his new teammates.

SUBSTITUTES

The substitutes did a decent job of maintaining the performance level but the side as a whole were undone by Ireland just managing to bring a little more intensity as the match reached its crucial moments. The stand out performer off the bench was prop Fergus Bradbury who put in 40 strong minutes, initially at loosehead before switching to tighthead. He really is a quite extraordinarily large human being!

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