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Scotland player ratings vs South Africa | Rugby World Cup 2023

By Gavin Harper
Finn Russell of Scotland reacts during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Scotland at Stade Velodrome on September 10, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Scotland player ratings: Scotland were in the fight for 40 minutes, but fell away after the break as the defending champions took charge in Marseille.

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Two quick tries from former world player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kurt-Lee Arendse gave the Springboks a lead that Gregor Townsend’s side could not overhaul.

Defeat is a huge blow to Scotland’s hopes of qualifying from the pool of death at this World Cup; Townsend’s side must bounce back when they meet Tonga in Nice in two weeks time.

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Here’s how the Scotland players fared in Marseille.

15. Blair Kinghorn – 6
It was a shaky start when he dropped a couple of high balls, but worked hard to mop up with Scotland almost relentlessly under pressure. Looked lively when he shifted to the wing in the closing stages, and might’ve scored but for an overhit Price kick.

14. Darcy Graham – 5
Did well to get on the outside, but had to give the pass to one of his Edinburgh back three colleagues. Didn’t really get many other chances, and was hooked early in the second half after battling to be fit for this one.

13. Huw Jones – 5
Picked for his attacking prowess, but just didn’t get the chance to show what he can do.

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12. Sione Tuipulotu – 6
Wasn’t able to get Scotland front-foot ball barring one big first-half carry. Put under huge pressure by the Springboks’ inside defence.

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 6
Opportunities to attack at a premium, and was well shackled by South Africa, but should’ve been put away for his 21st international try by his wing colleague. Scotland need to find a way of getting their big winger into these big games more.

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10. Finn Russell – 6
An inauspicious start set the tone for a difficult afternoon for Scotland’s playmaker-in-chief, who couldn’t find the holes in the Springbok defence with his usual regularity. Did put Graham away, though, and that chance had to be finished. Outstanding tackles to prevent Kolbe and Williams from inflicting further damage.

9. Ben White – 6
Made more tackles than anyone else, and won a turnover, but couldn’t get the Scottish attack firing.

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1. Pierre Schoeman – 5
Harsly penalised at an early scrum, but found himself up against it at the set-piece, barring one huge effort just before half-time.

2. George Turner – 4
Lineout can be an issue and there were two missed inside the first quarter, and another on Scotland’s first attacking foray inthe second half. Contributed some huge tackles.

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3. Zander Fagerson – 5
Back from suspension, and put in a big shift for his 56 minutes before being removed. A tough afternoon at the scrum, but chipped in defensively with six tackles.

4. Richie Gray – 5
A good early carry to relieve pressure, then a terrific counter-ruck on 12 minutes which should have brought a Scotland penalty. Nothing like the impact of the Springbok locks with the ball.

5. Grant Gilchrist – 5
Led the defensive effort with nine tackles in his 56 minutes, but Scotland’s lineout leader will be disappointed with their three malfunctions in that area.

6. Jamie Ritchie – 5
Plenty has already been made of his relationship with referees, and he wasn’t able to influence Angus Gardner much today. Doesn’t help himself at times, like when he gave away a daft penalty for taking du Toit in the air. Only made three metres with ball in hand.

7. Rory Darge – 4
Punches above his weight defensively, but absolutely no opportunities to impact the breakdown.

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8. Jack Dempsey – 6.5
A tireless worker who battled hard to take the game to the Springboks. On the receiving end of a high shot from Kriel early that went unpunished.

Replacements
16. Dave Cherry – 4
Thrown on as part of a four-man change on 56 minutes, but the lineout struggles remained.

17. Jamie Bhatti – 4
Nice hands on a couple of occasions, but struggled badly at the scrum.

18. WP Nel – 4
Scotland’s depth at tighthead is a problem and the 37-year-old veteran struggled here. Shipped two penalties after coming on.

19. Scott Cummings – 6
Threw himself into ball carrying after coming on, and did well to win a turnover with a choke tackle. A contender to start against Tonga.

20. Matt Fagerson – 5.5
Replaced Darge for the final 15 minutes, and his stand-out moment was a half break up the left wing,

21. Ali Price – 5
Perhaps only in the squad due to George Horne’s injury, and didn’t really any of the tempo his Glasgow colleague offers, with the exception of one half break which was undone by an overhit grubber for Kinghorn.

22. Cameron Redpath – 5
On for Tuipulotu inside the closing stages, and a couple of nice touches as Scotland looked for a consolation score.

23. Ollie Smith – 5
On for Graham with quarter of an hour to go, but barring one long kick didn’t have much impact.

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Comments

6 Comments
C
Connor 313 days ago

I honestly don't know why DVM is picked.
He threw the chance for Scot to score first half which would have changed the game. He is easy to rile and opposition like SA get under his skin too easily. He's not a big enough guy to be a big winger and he's not fast enough to be a fast winger.
Against SA you'd be better with speedster and trying to let them loose. He's in the middle.
He gets controlled easily and is greedy. He always tries to take the extra yard, showed it on most of his carries almost getting isolated.
Played the exact same for the Lions, every expects big things but he never produces incredibly, only enough to keep himself in the picture.

C
Chris 314 days ago

Harsh on Russel, he did what he could... losing against this SA team doesn't mean you're bad, only that they are better....
The bench not up to the task and line-outs were horrific

g
gareth 315 days ago

Eaten alive. I thought rory Darge was the second coming of Christ..

B
Bob Marler 315 days ago

Generous. Scrums and lineouts?

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