Six Nations 2017: Scotland Player Ratings Versus France

Scotland rugby

Scotland came back to Earth with a bump in Paris, producing one of their patented brave defeats when they could have pushed on to become genuine championship contenders. Not for the first time France rolled over the top of Scotland, literally leaving bodies strewn in its wake, debris that might have fatally dented their progress in this Championship.

1. Alan Dell – 3
Scotland got away with a dodgy scrum performance against the Irish, partly because the skill levels of both sides meant on the day there were very few scrums. This week was a very different story, time and again France were given easy exits and promising attacking positions through scrum penalties. I like mobile, skilful props as much as the next guy but the first job is to hold up your end of the scrum and Dell never got close. Better scrums than this Scotland eight will be battered by the French behemoth but still…

2. Fraser Brown – 7
OK, everything I said about the scrum applies to Brown too but the Glasgow hooker also produced a huge defensive shift with 14 tackles and a brilliant turnover when the French juggernaut was rolling towards the try line.

3. Zander Fagerson – 5
Not great from the boy, this was a big step up that he wasn’t quite ready to take. He needs to learn quickly because WP Nel isn’t going to ride in on a white horse in two weeks time. It’s not fair to expect Fagerson to learn his trade under such exposure but he is what we have.

4. Richie Gray – 7
Never took a step backwards, made tackles, hit rucks and was one the Scots’ most effective carriers. Apparently there is a touring team heading off to New Zealand in June, maybe Richie should be clearing his diary.

5. Jonny Gray – 6
After the disgrace of missing two tackles last week, Jonny was back to 100% form in Paris. Not as prominent around the pitch this week and a LOT of those tackles were after the freakish French front five had made it across the gain line.

6. John Barclay – 5
Was showing up well before going off with what appeared to be a failed HIA. His experience was missed among the carnage.

7. Hamish Watson – 7.5
Made most of his yards going forward with 3 Frenchmen hanging off him and was outstanding in defence. Any thoughts of the Edinburgh man being a little undersized for international rugby should have been put to bed today.

8. Josh Strauss – 8
I asked last week when we would see Strauss’s Glasgow form replicated for the national team. I got my answer this weekend. The Bearded One literally emptied himself, making carry after carry into the heart of the French defence. On one leg by the end, Scotland will seriously miss him if he can’t recover in time for Wales. Also, can Glasgow really do without him? Sign the man up!

9. Greig Laidlaw – 5
I am going to stop complaining about Laidlaw’s service. Yes, at times we looked sharper going forward with Price on and Russell looked better with faster ball. BUT…what we needed was to slow down and play the game in better areas during the second half. Which is exactly what Laidlaw would have done.

10. Finn Russell – 6
Better than last week although the weekly Finn brain fart took a very odd form this week. I am very glad it didn’t end up being the difference between the teams. At this stage of his development the Wegie fly half very much needs front foot ball of which there was almost none.

11. Tommy Seymour – 7
Seymour worked hard at restarts and created a try out of not very much for Tim Swinson.

12. Alex Dunbar – 7
Massive in defence with 11 tackles and a match-leading 3 turnovers but, perhaps as a consequence, wasn’t able to make much of a dent in attack with only 2 carries. Another casualty who might struggle for the Wales game in two weeks.

13. Huw Jones – 6.5
Great work again in the lead up to Hogg’s try from the man of many nationalities and he was busy in defence too (to be fair so were almost all the Scots in the second half). Coming along very nicely indeed.

14. Sean Maitland – 6
Another quietly effective game for the Saracens winger. Commentary team thought he might have lost a yard of pace. Not sure myself.

15. Stuart Hogg – 7.5
Looked upset after the game. Good! Personally, I have had enough of being “competitive” and brave defeat and it looked like the losing bonus point wasn’t much consolation to the Hawick man either. Hogg likes to win and does not expect to lose which is exactly the attitude this team needs. Oh, and the rapier like finishing doesn’t hurt either. France had obviously decided to kick almost no ball in Hogg’s direction, running it out from their 22 on several occasions. If only we had been able to stop them on the gain line.

Substitutes (sorry…. Finishers)

Price was busy and sped the game up when he came on……Hardie came and went……Swinson looked good and ran a great support line for his try…….. the front row replacements made almost no difference……..No clue why Cotter brought Weir on for the last 5 mins when we needed to go the length of the field for a try.

By Steve Smith

8 thoughts on “Six Nations 2017: Scotland Player Ratings Versus France

  1. For me I’d take points off Hogg for a) his petulant and unnessercary charging into throw his weight about when Price and Lopez had a bit of handbags (the sooner somebody big drops one on his snout and knocks some humility into him the better player he’ll become) and b) the shocking missed tackle over the top of Gael Fickou when the French man scored his try smelt slightly of a lack of bravery.

    1. Agree. Cam I also add his decision to go for glory on his own with two men outside him during Scotland’s last gasp attack.

      They may not have scored but they might have had a chance if he’d passed it

      I thought he was past his tendency to try and do it all himself. Perhaps not

      1. Aye, more steroids. I genuinely feel like Scotland are behind the other nations in terms of ‘performance enhancement’.

        If Hoggy had passed – as I’m sure a lot of us were crying out for him to do – I think we’d have grabbed a great victory, England-style. But there were so many mistakes in the preceding 78 minutes, both in terms of tactics and in terms of play, and so many injuries that it’s tough to see the Ireland victory as anything other than an aberration. This was a slightly better Scotland of old. If Wales win in two weeks’ time, then no progress has been made from last year, and that’s a real shame.

    1. As much as the new, running Scotland will hate to hear it, kick more. Some of those players are way too big IMO, basically playing with a medicine ball strapped to their chest, so just test their cardio.

      You can probably bet that Ireland will be putting boot to ball a lot more in two weeks, than they did against Italy or Scotland, at least in the first half. Just to have those big fat guys constantly turning and being dragged across the pitch.

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