RBS 6 Nations 2011: Scotland Player Ratings versus Italy

15. Chris Paterson 8
2 rare missed kicks as Paterson kicked 4 out of 6 attempts, and was a force to be reckoned with in Scotland’s backs. Made an excellent tackle on Derbyshire 23 minutes in, and a try saving tackle 77 minutes in on Luke McLean.

14. Nikki Walker 7.5
A last minute call up for Walker, replacing the injured Max Evans. Got his hands on Masi, but should have committed and gone for the tackle. Scored Scotland’s second try of the game.

13. Joe Ansbro 7
Made his mark on the game early with some lovely darts into the Italian line. Probably would have crossed the try line at some point during the game, if he had not sustained an injury to his knee. Driven off the field after only 18 minutes.

12. Sean Lamont 7
Threw all he had into this game, and the first half saw him make several breaks into open space. He gained good ground for Scotland, dashing into territory that clever play from Danielli opened up.

11. Simon Danielli 7
A key part of Scotland’s attack, Danielli got the closest to the line in the first half, missing by inches. Drew the Italians in, and displayed flair with some of his play.

10. Ruaridh Jackson 8
Still learning, but improving all the time. This game saw him really getting stuck in and running with the ball in hand, making good ground and taking some big hits in return for this. Lasted all but the final 3 minutes of the game, replaced by Dan Parks 77 minutes in.

09. Rory Lawson 8
Cool and calm in his play, he is forming an efficient partnership with his younger fly half. In this match he certainly brought the control to the game that Jackson is still to master. I think we will see good things come of this scrum and fly half pairing. Substituted after 63mins for Mike Blair

01. Alan Jacobsen 7
Was spoken to a couple of times by the referee for his positioning at the beginning of the scrum, however held his own well in the scrum. Supported his teammates well in the rucks.

02. Ross Ford 7
Made a few silly mistakes that referee Steve Walsh picked him up on. However was solid in the attack, utilising his bulk to good effect in the drives forward. Replaced on the 63 minute mark by Scott Lawson.

03. Geoff Cross 7
The stability that he brought to the scrum last week was evident in this game as the weaker Scottish pack stood up to the force of the Italians. Like his two counterparts in the front row, this was a quiet but solid display from the prop. Also replaced after 63 minutes, by Euan Murray.

04. Richie Gray 8
Excellent in the lineouts, using his height to real advantage. The blonde locks were conspicuous on the field as he worked incredibly hard, looking for the ball, providing support, and making the big tackles. Definitely deserved the Man of the Match accolade.

05. Alistair Kellock (capt) 8
Another excellent performance in the line out, and a spirited performance on the field from Kellock. Leading by example once again, he kept driving onwards. Got in a brilliant tackle on Bergamasco 23 minutes in that allowed Scotland to gain the turnover ball.

06. Nathan Hines 7
Conceded a penalty early on, but was let off as Bergamasco missed it. Very effective in defence, really working hard to shut down Italian attempts at breaking through the line. Strokosch replaced Hines after 53minutes.

07. John Barclay 7
Certainly seemed at home with this game, and is starting to work really well with Brown, as he did in the “Killer B” days. Managed to tackle well and earn some fantastic turnovers for Scotland. It was an unstarry performance, but he certainly contributed well to this game.

08. Kelly Brown 8
Attacked this game like he does every single game and, in his red cap, was a visible part of Scotland’s attack and instrumental in defence. Replaced, probably for precaution, after 73minutes by Richie Vernon.

Replacements
16. Scott Lawson came on for Ross Ford 63mins into the game. Came on when Italy were on the attack, at first seemed somewhat floundered, but quickly threw himself into the defence, made a good tackle on Italian number 12, Sgarbi.

17. Euan Murray replaced Geoff Cross after 63mins. Also began play in the face of Italian advance, but handled himself well.

18. Richie Vernon replaced Kelly Brown after 73 minutes, and went straight into a scrum. Worked hard to establish himself, and did well with his defending, but still not enough time to make a major impact.

19. Alasdair Strokosch replaced Nathan Hines after 53 mins. Penalised in his first few minutes for not rolling away. But held up well against wave after wave of Italian attack.

20. Mike Blair came on for Rory Lawson also after 63 mins. The partnership between himself and Jackson needs more time to develop, but Blair still exuded the control over the game that you need from these positions.

21. Dan Parks replaced Ruaridh Jackson after 77 minutes, so did not have any time to make an impact on the game.

22. Nick De Luca replaced an injured Joe Ansbro 18 minutes in. Calmly got on with the job in hand, and did very well in defence Scored Scotland’s first try early on in the 2nd half

Overall 8/10
Scotland came into this game with everything to play for, and they certainly threw everything they had at it, and then some more! A real positive to take from this game, aside from not coming last, is that we are really seeing the players come together as a team and play as a unit. We saw it last week against England, and this week it was even stronger.

The all-Edinburgh front row stood up well to the stronger Italian forwards, and I think that this 1,2,3 combination will be seen more often during the World Cup. There is still work to be done with the Scotland forwards, but this was a much more promising display.

By Christine Lester