What a game of rugby.
With the Championship decided the Twickenham crowd initially seemed more concerned with merriment that what was going on the pitch. England appearing to wrap up the game within 15 minutes didn’t help matters.
And then the second half happened.
15. Sean Maitland 5
Brought in for the injured Blair Kinghorn and questions were immediately asked of his decision making at 15. Nearly found out again for a non-tackle on Jack Nowell, if it was for the faintest of knock-ons by Ben Youngs. Looked lost at seas at times, which is saying something for a British and Irish Lion veteran. Brightened up in the secondhalf.
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14. Darcy Graham 8
Electrifying against Wales, Graham struggled to contain the rampaging English backline early doors. Was haunted by a Jonny May, who was at his fleet-footed best, biting in on Farrell for the Gloucester man’s first try. Took revenge in the secondhalf with two brilliantly taken tries. Survived an Owen Farrell armless hit in the 67th minute. He’s a keeper.
13. Nick Grigg 4
Scotland have missed Huw Jones greatly all tournament and it was no different today. Grigg is a game player but question marks remain over his abilities at this level. Tried hard all day but looked out of his depth.
12. Sam Johnson 7
The Rugby League convert is learning the game rapidly, mixing odd errors and lasps in defence with some solid work elsewhere. Only really ignited in the 75th minute, and it was worth the wait. A phenomenal try that will live long in Calcutta Cup lore.
11. Byron McGuigan 5
Twelve metres with ball in hand was hardly a fantastic return for the winger. He also managed to miss four tackles. After a bright showing off the bench against Wales, will be disappointed with a patchy day at the office in what was a rare start for the Sale Shark.
10. Finn Russell 8.5
Struggled with England’s line speed in the first half. A brilliant read for his intercept in the 58th and cemented his place as the tournaments most skillful flyhalf. Was magnificent at times, and you can’t help but wonder what might have been in 2019 had Scotland’s back division not been so depleted.
9. Ali Price 7
Held on to his spot after a decent showing against Wales. Was part of the secondhalf revival, pretty much setting up Bradbury’s try single-handedly. Fell off a few too many tackles to score too high.
1. Allan Dell 6
What Dell lacks in size, he normally makes up with his mobility around the park, but the Lion had a quiet game. Got through a fair share of the tackling duties.
2. Stuart McInally CAPTAIN 7
An unlikely but utterly brilliant 34th minute charge down and subsequent 50 metre run to the line broke the English onslaught and offered Scotland the faintest of hope with halftime approaching. Missed four tackles.
3. Willem Nel 6
Again, didn’t really show in the loose with his trademark carries. Still finding match fitness after a long time out we suspect.
4. Ben Toolis 7
Did he do enough to justify being selected ahead of Jonny Gray? Probably not. The Edinburgh man got through a hell of lot of the dirty work and got through 20 tackles, the highest of any Scot.
5. Grant Gilchrist 6
Tackled all day and when the Scottish pack finally started firing back, he was at the coalface. Carried nine times for the hardest of hard yards.
6. Sam Skinner 5
A relatively quiet shift. Did little on either side of the ball. Scotland have better backrows set to come back.
7. Hamish Watson 7
Earned his 25th cap coming off a barnstorming cameo against Wales. Didn’t quite reach the height of last weekend. Beat three defenders and carried well in general, as well as being his usual pesky self at the breakdown.
8. Magnus Bradbury 8
Was in the right place at the right time for his try. Was everywhere all day and looks to the manor born at Test level.
16. Fraser Brown 6
A high standard for Scotland to fall back on. Did however concede a penalty.
17. Gordon Reid 7
Scrummaged solidly and made 4 of 5 tackles in the loose after coming on early in the secondhalf.
18. Simon Berghan 7
Won a turnover when he came on for Nel and managed seven tackles in an industrious 20 minutes.
19. Jonny Gray 8
Made 13 tackles despite coming on in 56th minute. Still Scotland’s premier secondrow and should be starting.
20. Josh Strauss 6
Came on for Skinner in the 55th minute and was an improvement.
21. Greig Laidlaw 7
Steadied the ship when it needing steadying. Is his future on the bench?
22. Adam Hastings
Came on in the 67th for Maitland and Townsend will be pleased with his versatility. Looks very like American actor Oscar Isaac, although that’s largely irrelevant.
23. Chris Harris 5
Didn’t see much of the ball after coming on for Grigg to be fair. Looked busy.
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