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Scotland player ratings vs Italy | 2023 Summer Nations Series

By Gavin Harper
Scotland's Josh Bayliss celebrates after scoring the team's third try during the Nations Series international rugby union match between Scotland and Italy at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland on July 29, 2023. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Scotland player ratings: Two tries from wing Darcy Graham helped Scotland kick off their Rugby World Cup preparations with a 25-13 win over Italy, but it was far from convincing from the hosts.


Graham, back in the side after injury, was the stand-out peformer for Gregor Townsend’s men on a subdued afternoon at Murrayfield.

There were a couple of new caps and opportunities for established names to make their case for inclusion in the final 33-man World Cup party.

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Here’s a look at how the Scots performed.

15. Ollie Smith – 6.5
The first man to take the 15 jersey following the retirement of Stuart Hogg, but the young Glasgow man didn’t have much impact in attack. Did well to rescue a couple of Italian kicks through early on with Scotland under pressure.

14. Darcy Graham – 8
Scotland’s best player and took his two tries well. Provided the vast majority of the hosts’ spark behind the scrum.

13. Chris Harris – 6.5
So defensively solid, as we’ve come to expect, and won a good turnover out wide. However, Scotland missed the attacking threat of Huw Jones to hold the Italian defenders.

12. Stafford McDowall – 7
Showed his full skill-set in the build-up to both tries. First showed lovely hands at first receiver to give Healy space for the kick for Graham’s first before carrying Scotland over the gainline before the winger’s second score.


11. Kyle Steyn – 6
A couple of good half breaks and excellent kick chasing, but didn’t get too many opportunities.

10. Ben Healy – 6.5
An encouraging showing from Edinburgh’s summer signing on his first Scotland start. Showed good vision to spot space as Graham nearly scored inside six minutes, and again for the opening score six minutes later.

9. Ali Price – 5
Needed a big performance to leapfrog Ben White, but didn’t deliver. While he linked well with Healy in attack, there were several costly errors with the boot and some erratic passing that put team-mates under pressure.

1. Rory Sutherland – 6
Strong at the set-piece and made a robust carry from a loose ball


2. George Turner – 6
Welcomed debutant Pani to international rugby with a thumping hit. Spilled from a tap penalty 5m out to let Italy off the hook.

3. Murphy Walker – 6
Industrious in defence, but infringed a couple of times at the scrum. Still work to do if he’s to book his place in the final World Cup squad.

4. Sam Skinner – 7
Organised Scotland’s maul well, and carried in close quarters. The former Exeter man is not found as often in the wide channels with Scotland as he is at club level.


5. Scott Cummings – 7
Works tirelessly around the field helped sure the lineout functioned well and put the Italian throw under pressure.

6. Luke Crosbie – 6
On the evidence of this showing, the Edinburgh man looks better suited to the blindside at Test level. A handy lineout option and physical with ball in hand.

7. Rory Darge – 6.5
Scotland’s new captain did his best to lead from the front with some strong carrying.

8. Matt Fagerson – 6.5
Busy again and won an important penalty on 50 minutes with Scotland under pressure. Did his best to give Graham and Smith the cover required when Ioane scored.


16. Stuart McInally – 6
The retiring former captain won’t get many more outings at Murrayfield, and he looked keen to make an impact after appearing as part of a full front-row change. Showed a turn of pace when he broke from a turnover, but shouldn’t have thrown the offload to Sebastian.

17. Jamie Bhatti – 5.5
A mixed bag that included some a powerful scrum against a tired Ceccarelli but then found himself under a bit of pressure when the visitors changed their props, only to recover late on.

18. Javan Sebastian – 6
Some good scrummaging from the former Scarlets tighthead, who looked to get about the pitch.

19. Cameron Henderson – 5
The Leicester man was talked up by Gregor Townsend for his form at Leicester last season and made his debut inside the final quarter, replacing Cummings. Didn’t have a huge impact.

20. Josh Bayliss – 6
Replaced Crosbie with 10 minutes to go, and made up for a lineout fumble with the decisive try in the closing stages. Still feels like he’s got a lot to do to make the final World Cup cut here.

21. Jamie Dobie – 6.5
On for Price just before the hour and after an initial mix-up with Healy, added tempo for the home side.

22. Blair Kinghorn – 6.5
On for his two-try Edinburgh colleague, and picked up where Graham left off as Scotland’s most threatening back. A couple of lovely involvements in the build-up to the Bayliss score.

23. Cam Redpath – 6
Stretched the Italians on more than one occasion after replacing Harris, and put his Bath colleague over with a well-timed pass.


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1 Comment
Ian 356 days ago

Not the same game that I watched

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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