15. Stuart Hogg – 6
Under some serious pressure any time he got a hand to the ball. Ireland had done their homework, and effectively shut Hogg down.
14. Lee Jones – 6
Horrible collision with Andrew Trimble saw him knocked out and stretchered off 61minutes into the game. Reports from the Scotland camp, say Jones was awake and alert on his way to hospital to undergo precautionary head scans. Up until this point Jones had looked one of the more likely players to break the line. Did miss a tackle on Trimble though, leading to an Irish try.
13. Max Evans – 5
A last minute move into the starting XV as replacement for Nick De Luca. Evans looked shaky to begin with, overrunning and a little off with his passes. However settled down to the game, making good runs, and a good tackle on Rob Kearney. However the shaky performance returned to bookend his game, with a silly, and perhaps cynical, mistake earning him a yellow card.
12. Graeme Morrison – 7
The stand out moment of Morrison’s performance was the brilliant, try saving, tackle on Tommy Bowe. Admittedly Morrison perhaps should have also been pinged for not letting go, but it was brilliant. That aside, Morrison once again put in a commendable heads down, get stuck in showing.
11. Sean Lamont – 5
Was possibly more fired up for this game than he needed to be, and he did not always channel that extra energy in the right way; should have known better than to ‘charge down’ Jonathan Sexton’s kick, and panicked when the ball went loose, missing a crucial tackle on Eoin Reddan, leading to an Ireland try.
When he did channel the energy in the right way he was solid.
10. Greig Laidlaw – 6
Kicked 3 out of 4 kicks, and is improving slowly as he remains Andy Robinson’s first choice at fly half. Still some poor decision-making when Ireland put him under pressure. Works better with Mike Blair than he does Chris Cusiter.
9. Mike Blair – 7
A valiant effort from Blair, he was lurking and ready to hassle his counterpart whenever he could. Desperately tried to prevent Rory Best from getting over the line for Ireland’s first try, and was left seeing stars from it.
1. Allan Jacobsen – 6
I think Jacobsen must have eaten his Weetabix on Saturday morning, as I do not think I have ever seen him so speedy. In the loose he was fast and supportive, in the scrum however he came under scrutiny and was spoken to by referee Chris Pollock on occasion.
2. Ross Ford – 5
Let the Irish get to him in this game, and put in a performance that was more reminiscent of the game against England; somewhat stuttering and nervy. A squint feed led to Scotland losing their first lineout of the competition, and they did not improve on that front from there. In the loose, like Jacobsen, Ford was solid.
3. Geoff Cross – 5
Had a tough time against Cian Healy, and was another player that really came under scrutiny in the scrum. In this particular battle, I think Healy came out on top.
4. Richie Gray – 8
Scored Scotland’s only try, with a fantastic run in which Ireland learnt that if you want to ground Richie Gray you do not tackle high as he will just brush you off and gallop away. Exploded out of the blocks from the first whistle and kept himself going for the full 80minutes. Impressive.
5. Jim Hamilton – 7
A real workaholic, Hamilton compliments his taller, blonder second row partner very well indeed. Using brute strength and experience, he was on point for when Ireland made mistakes, solid at the breakdowns and in the loose.
6. John Barclay – 7
One part of a back row that really stood out for me. Barclay, like Morrison, put his head down and focused on getting on with the job in hand. If he were not involved in something then Rennie or Denton were. Great work rate.
7. Ross Rennie – 7
Will definitely be nursing the bruises after this game. He took as many hits as he doled out. After such high calibre performances, Rennie will no doubt be in contention for a Lions spot.
8. David Denton – 7
Another potential Lion here too. Although caught off guard at Ireland’s 2nd try, Denton really put in the work defensively and was forceful and reliable in attack. An involved and committed performance.