15. Stuart Hogg: 7.5
Hogg looked extremely dangerous in attack which culminated in a couple of half breaks and some impressive offloads. His positioning for opposition attacks was good and a number of times he used fancy footwork to get out of trouble.
14. Sean Maitland: 7.5
Possibly Scotland’s best player until injury unfortunately forced him off around the half-hour mark. He was hungry for the ball, kept popping up in support across the backline and he looked dangerous whenever he received it.
13. Alex Dunbar: 7
He didn’t offer a huge amount in attack but anyone who manages to keep Brian O’Driscoll quiet all match tends to have a good game. He made an inspiring 12 tackles, the majority of which were quite physical.
12. Duncan Taylor: 6
Just like his centre partner, Taylor didn’t offer a lot of options in attack – which is a shame because he impresses for Saracens – but he was fairly solid in defence. Expect Matt Scott to start against England.
11. Sean Lamont: 7
It was a shame that Lamont didn’t receive the ball more in attack because he seems to be playing the best rugby of his career. He was hugely physical in attack and defence, bouncing off a number of defenders and making hard yards.
10. Duncan Weir: 6.5
Duncy seems to have cemented his position at 10 for the next couple of games. His vision was good as was his kicking out of hand but unfortunately, he and Scotland didn’t have a plan B in attack. Ireland threw their whole pack at him but he made every tackle.
9. Greig Laidlaw: 5
He’s solid but he just doesn’t offer enough in attack. He was slow, he isn’t the type of scrum-half that defenders have to worry about and his box kicking went straight down the back-three’s throats. At least his passing to Weir was fluent and consistent.
1. Ryan Grant: 5.5
He started brightly but soon faded quickly, offering nothing in the loose and struggling in the scrum against Mike Ross. Got a couple of tackles to his name but Scotland will be hoping that the Grant from last season’s Six Nations turns up on Saturday.
2. Ross Ford: 3
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Ford was the worst player across the entire weekend. His accuracy in the lineout was poor and for some reason he still doesn’t hook in the scrum, which helped Ireland gain a notable turnover. Why Scott Johnson still insists he starts is anyone’s guess.
3. Moray Low: 4
His rating is so high purely because he made seven tackles. His organisation and lifting in the lineout was awful and Cian Healy had a field-day in the scrum, folding Low in nearly every single time.
4. Tim Swinson: 6
He loves being used as a big ball carrier but unfortunately, it was largely to no effect. Made a number of tackles but he was a main contributor to the poor lineouts and scrums.
5. Jim Hamilton: 4.5
Someone his size and with his experience should have stood up when Scotland heads dropped and led from the front but he didn’t. He should have taken more control in the lineout and carried more.
6. Ryan Wilson: 6
He’s normally an 8 but Wilson did an ok job on the blindside. He was another player that made a number of tackles but didn’t offer himself in attack, and although he didn’t make an impact on attacking breakdowns, he made a nuisance of himself in defence.
7. Kelly Brown: 5
The fact that he isn’t a 7 means that Ireland had free reign at the breakdown. He also made a number of tackles but that isn’t really his job and against a strong England pack, Johnson has to pick an out-and-out openside.
8. Dave Denton: 7
This was his best performance in a Scotland jersey since he first burst onto the scene. He cleaned up well at the back of a messy scrum and he carried well, nearly scoring on one occasion. A lot of people still see him as a blindside though.
Scott Johnson’s replacements were either too late to make an impact or they were ridiculous – there were three no.8s in the backrow by the end of the game. Alasdair Dickinson came on and made a ludicrous 12 tackles for a prop, Geoff Cross and Pat MacArthur were strong in the scrum and Beattie did well in the loose. Chris Cusiter had no time to make an impact and although he came on early, Max Evans didn’t shine and neither did Richie Gray or Matt Scott.
By Calum Gillon (@C_Gillon)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images