15. Sean Maitland: 7.5
Fullback is not the Kilted Kiwi’s preferred choice of position but he was solid enough at the back and he came into the line well when he needed to. Contributed in attack with a few clean breaks to leave his team with good field position and he made a couple of nice last-ditch tackles.
14. Tommy Seymour: 7
Was in the right place at the right time to score two tries but he is only rated 7 due to his defence. Was gassed by his opposite man Kenki Fukuoka a number of times and his tackling looked suspect when he was faced one-on-one.
13. Nick de Luca: 6.5
Remained fairly quiet throughout the whole of the match apart from one clean break which was deemed illegal anyway. His defence and hands were solid but unspectacular and it seems a more influential player is needed to fill the 13 shirt.
12. Matt Scott: 8
Did the hard work in the first half and as soon as the game opened up, he was in his element. Busted through the Japanese defence with gusto, supported well and his offloading game was top notch. Injuries permitting, he should be a mainstay in the centre for years to come.
11. Sean Lamont: 7
From one of his biggest critics, this was one of Lamont’s better games – he came off his wing regularly in support and he was physical throughout. Deservedly got a try for his efforts.
10. Ruaridh Jackson: 7
A couple of passes didn’t go to hand, but for the most part Jackson controlled the game well, let his backs take the ball on at pace and his vision and decision making looked sharp. He did fly out of the line which led to Japan’s first try though.
9. Greig Laidlaw: 7
His play in the loose was as solid as it has always been, passes went to hand and he managed the forwards brilliantly. Passed the 200 points marker after 22 caps but he will be disappointed with his kicking game, both out of hand and off the tee.
1. Ryan Grant: 7
Went off after 25 minutes with a head injury but he looked solid enough before that – he put the Japanese scrum under pressure and made a nuisance of himself in defence. His replacement, Alasdair Dickinson, was industrious when he came on.
2. Ross Ford: 5.5
Ford looked nothing like the Lion of old in a display where he didn’t really do much. He made virtually no carries and you can tell he struggles with the new scrum laws as his hooking was non-existent. Can’t imagine he has many more caps in him.
3. Euan Murray: 6
Just like Ford, Murray looked like a shadow of his former self. He was not as solid in the scrum as he would have liked to have been and he offered nothing in loose play.
4. Tim Swinson: 8.5
Scotland’s best player on the pitch by some distance. Time after time he was used purely to soften the opposition defence and it is a role that he loves. He was physical in defence and controlled the lineout well to set up a number of effective rolling mauls.
5. Al Kellock: 5.5
He may be a natural leader but Kellock has always been unable to transfer his club form onto the international stage. Had a quiet game, especially by his standards and looks unlikely that he will start again in the Autumn Internationals.
6. Alasdair Strokosch: 7
Made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown as per usual and tackled anything that came his way. Strokosch is one of those players that always grafts well and no-one really notices.
7. Kelly Brown: 6.5
In a game where he was mildly average, it’s hard to see where captain Brown features in the Scotland squad from here on out. He definitely isn’t a seven and he isn’t the best six or number eight in the team. If Scott Johnson has the cojones, Brown may have to play a bit part from the bench.
8. Dave Denton: 8
There is no denying Denton’s commitment to the cause. He made 21 carries throughout the match, and although he didn’t really rumble over anyone, he made the hard yards to keep Scotland moving forward.
The game was pretty much over by the time most of the replacements came on, but Duncan Weir got on the scoresheet, as did Dickinson who played well after his early arrival. John Barclay played well and evidently slowed down the Japanese breakdown; it’s nice to see what an actual openside can do.
By Calum Gillon (@Calum_Gillon)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images