6N: Scotland’s end of campaign report card

Plenty to look forward to from a young and exciting Scotland squad

Scotland rugby team performances
Scotland rugby team performances in the 2018 six nations: Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

BACKS


  • Stuart Hogg

Appearances: 5 [W, F, E, I, It]

Points: 5

Having been the official player of the championship the last two years, he didn’t even make the short-list this year – but this was by no means a poor seven week period for Scotland’s most dangerous ball-carrier. He was named at full-back in Opta’s team-of-the tournament having carried 479 metres, which was more than any other player in the competition. Finally got that elusive try when he scuttled over with ten minutes to go as Scotland fought back from a lacklustre start to clinch victory in Rome at the weekend.

8 out of 10


  • Tommy Seymour

Appearances: 4 [W, F, E, It]

Points: 0

Missed Ireland game through injury. Pretty quiet tournament but didn’t let anyone down.

out of 10


  • Blair Kinghorn

Appearances: 2 [E(r), I]

Points: 5

Made his debut off the bench against England, then had several good carries and scored an excellently taken try on his first start against Ireland whilst playing on the wing in place of Seymour. Dropped back to the bench for Italy encounter and wasn’t used, but had already shown more than enough to confirm that a bright international future is in store.

8 out of 10


PRO14: Murray excited by competition for places as Warriors zone in on play-offs

BT Premiership: Final Leaderboards


  • Lee Jones

Appearances: 1 [I(r)]

Points: 0

A brief run as a  temporary replacement for Kinghorn in Dublin was his only involvement.

No mark applicable


  • Chris Harris

Appearances: 1 [W]

Points: 0

Made a great try saving tackle on Rhys Patchell when he got his big chance against Wales at the start of the championship, but generally struggled with the tempo and intensity of that match – although, in fairness, he was not alone in that respect. Was an unused sub against France then dropped out of the match-day squad altogether for the remainder of the tournament.

5 out of 10


  • Huw Jones

Appearances: 5 [W, F, E, I, It]

Points: 15

Played at inside centre against Wales and stuck in well enough on a bad day for the Scots, before moving to outside for the remainder of the tournament  where he is far more effective. Was outstanding against England, and his second try in that match was arguably the highlight of the tournament from a Scottish point of view. Its a shame that he and Hogg couldn’t execute that final pass which would surely have created a try under the posts at a crucial point in the game against Ireland. A few dropped balls versus Italy was a disappointing way to sign-off an otherwise impressive campaign. Made Opta’s team-of-the-tournament

8 out of 10


  • Peter Horne

Appearances: 5 [W(r), F, E, I, It(r)]

Points: 5

Made a positive impact off the bench against both Wales and Italy at the start and end of the Six Nations window; was an important steadying influence at Finn Russell’s side against France and England; but had a disappointing game against Ireland when he threw a damaging interception pass to Jacob Stockdale in the first half, and then had a couple more inaccurate moments which cost Scotland dearly.

7 out of 10


  • Nick Grigg

Appearances: 3 [E(r), I(r), It]

Points: 0

Two late appearances off the bench followed by a start against Italy, when he ran hard but didn’t really manage to shake the opposition’s defensive line.

7 out of 10


  • Byron McGuigan

Appearances: 1 [W]

Points: 0

Ran hard and straight against Wales but wasn’t able to pick any really damaging lines and was caught flat-footed in defence a few times, then dropped out of contention for the France match with a hamstring injury, and thereafter Sean Maitland made sure he didn’t get another look in. 

5 out of 10


  • Sean Maitland

Appearances: 5 [W(r), F, E, I, It]

Points: 15

Took his try well against France but seemed a bit rusty in defence when Teddy Thomas scored twice down his wing. Scored another good try against England when he was a rock in defence and under the high ball; but came off second best in a couple of aerial contests against Rob Kearney in Dublin. Made it three tries for the tournament in Rome.

7 out of 10


  • Finn Russell

Appearances: 5 [W, F, E, I, It]

Points: 5

A real mixed bag of a championship. Had critics screaming for his head after two careless performances against Wales and France, but was sensational against England. Things didn’t really click for him but was solid enough against Ireland before finishing off with another patchy display against Italy. We love him because he plays on the edge, so the challenge now is to build a support network around him which provides maximum scope for controlled creativity.

6 out of 10


  • Ali Price

Appearances: 5 [W, F(r), E(r), I(r), It(r)]

Points: 0

Will be haunted for some time  by the interception pass which gifted his opposite number Gareth Davies that early try for Wales in the championship opener, and struggled to adapt when it became apparent that the game was running away from Scotland, but recovered from that chastening experience to establish himself as a valuable ‘finisher’, capable of maximising his team’s excellent fitness levels by raising the tempo during the final quarter.

6 out of 10


  • Greig Laidlaw

Appearances: 5 [W(r), F, E, I, It]

Points: 41

Was being widely written off as yesterday’s man before the tournament kicked-off, but showed his true value to the team with a series of authoritative performances at scrum-half – and at stand-off when required. Excellent goal-kicking also crucial, particularly in those tight wins against France and Italy.

8 out of 10


FORWARDS


  • Gordon Reid

Appearances: 5 [W, F, E, I, It]

Points: 0

The scrum was a concern coming into the tournament but, in the event, it stacked up just fine – although the starting loose-head in all five matches may have run out of steam by the time the Italy game came along, and he ended up being subbed after 40 minutes.

7 out of 10


  • Jamie Bhatti

Appearances: 5 [W(r), F(r), E(r), I(r), It(r)]

Points: 0

What a first season as a full-time professional this guy is having! His consistency and durability has been remarkable for both club and country.

8 out of 10


  • Stuart McInally

Appearances: 5 [W, F, E, I, It(r)]

Points: 0

Seemed to have made the number two jersey his own with a series of towering performances, but gave way to Fraser Brown for the final game – although that seems to have been a horses-for-courses selection call, and the Edinburgh man made an important impact off the bench with 11 carries during the second half. His line-out is a concern, but play around the park was enough to see him selected in the Opta team-of-the-tournament.

8 out of 10


  • Scott Lawson

Appearances: 1 [W(r)}

Points: 0

Sat on the bench for three games, but only sent on for final 11 minutes against Wales.

No mark applicable


  • Fraser Brown

Appearances: 2 [I(r), It]

Points: 5

Finally shook off lingering concussion issues to play last 20 minute versus Ireland and then started against Italy, scoring a try and battling hard before being replaced by McInally at the break.

6 out of 10


  • Jon Welsh

Appearances: 1 [W]

Points: 0

Did what he was there to do against Wales. It certainly wasn’t his fault that things went so catastrophically wrong in that match. But his selection was always going to be a stop-gap measure, and after being an unused sub versus France, the Newcastle Falcons man then dropped out the squad altogether when WP Nel returned to the fold.

6 out of 10


  • Murray McCallum

Appearances: 1 [W(r)]

Points: 0

15-minutes off the bench in Cardiff will stand a young player with a bright future in good stead.

No mark applicable


  • Simon Berghan

Appearances: 3 [F, E, I]

Points: 0

Missed the Wales game through suspension, but then came back from six weeks out to play the full 80 minutes against France, putting in a solid shift in the tight and loose. Really came of age as an international athlete over the course of the tournament before being rather harshly dropped for the Italy game. 

8 out of 10


  • Willem Nel

Appearances: 3 [E(r), I(r), It]

Points: 0

Given how little rugby he has played in the last year, the tight-head was bound to be rusty. After two second-half appearances off the bench, he struggled with the intensity when Italy came flying out of the blocks at the weekend.

6 out of 10


  • Zander Fagerson

Appearances: 1 [It(r)]

Points: 0

Played the second half in Rome after missing earlier games with a foot injury and it looked like a case of too-much-too-soon, although Scotland as a whole were much better after the break with more control up-front.

out of 10


  • Ben Toolis

Appearances: 2 [W, F(r)]

Points: 0

Started against Wales, came off the bench against France, then dropped out of the squad altogether when Tim Swinson returned from injury. After an excellent Autumn, this will feel like a pretty demoralising campaign, especially as he didn’t really do too much wrong.

out of 10


  • Jonny Gray

Appearances: 5 [W, F, E, I, It]

Points: 0

Became the first player to make 100 tackles in a Six Nations campaign with a 97 per cent success rate (100/103) surpassing Joe Luanchbury’s previous record of 85 tackles in a campaign. Astonishing work rate. Another Scottish member of the Opta team-of-the-tournament. Does have a tendency to give away cheap penalties at key moments.

8 out of 10


  • Grant Gilchrist

Appearances: 4 [W(r), F, E, I]

Points: 0

After a couple frustrating, injury-blighted seasons, the big man is back to his commanding best, and decision to leave him out of the squad to play Italy is hard to fathom.

8 out of 10


  • Tim Swinson

Appearances: 3 [E(r), I(r), It]

Points: 0

Brought useful energy and combativeness off the bench, but perhaps under-sized to be an international starter in the second-row.

7 out of 10


  • Richie Gray

Appearances: 1 [It(r)]

Points: 0

We got sight of what Scotland have been missing when he came off the bench in Rome with 28 minutes to go, after injury ruled him out of the earlier rounds. Plenty of competition for places in the second-row.

No mark applicable


  • John Barclay

Appearances: 5 [W, F, E, I, It]

Points: 5

Captain fantastic. Remember when Scott Johnson, the SRU’s director of rugby, didn’t want him anywhere near the national team? Madness!

out of 10


  • Hamish Watson

Appearances: 5 [W, F, E, I, It]

Points: 0

Also made the Opta team-of-the-tournament. Living proof that it is not about the size of the dog in the fight, it is about the size of the fight in the dog. A hell of a competitor at the breakdown and Ireland number eight CJ Stander was talking nonsense when he said a few years back that the Scottish open-side wasn’t interested in tackling. 

8 out of 10


  • Cornell du Preez

Appearance: 1 [W]

Points: 0

“Cornell probably didn’t grab his opportunity,” said Gregor Townsend euphemistically, when revealing that the Edinburgh No 8 had been left out of the team to play France after a substandard showing in Wales. 

5 out of 10


  • Ryan Wilson

Appearances: 5 [W(r), F, E, I, It]

Points: 0

There are concerns about the balance of the back-row, but it is hard to make an argument for dropping any of the three players who started the final four games of this championship. Wilson was a colossus against England, with his aggression levels setting the tone. He has a  smart rugby brain and good ball skills, too. It is going to be fascinating to see if this Wilson-Barclay-Watson triumvirate can develop into a unit physically capable of going toe-to-toe with the very best oppositions out there – such as Ireland.

8 out of 10


  • David Denton

Appearances: 4 [F(r), E(r), I(r), It(r)]

Points: 0

Good impacts off the bench, particularly against France. There is no real mystery about what the big Zimbabwean is going to bring to the party, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the opposition to deal with his physicality, especially later on in games. It’s been a tough couple of years, but his move to Leicester Tigers this summer could be the making of Denton if the sleeping giants of the English Premiership can get him going forward at pace with ball in hand.

out of 10



PRO14: Murray excited by competition for places as Warriors zone in on play-offs

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article

Support the work of The Offside Line – it only takes a minute to sign up and you will make a difference to the coverage and profile of Scottish rugby.

Subscribe to The offside Line