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Scotland v England ratings.

Six Nations Scotland
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Six Nations

Scotland claimed their first victory of the Six Nations with a 15-9 victory over England, lifting the Calcutta Cup in the process.

My colleague Rob Hodgetts and I watched the game and have combined to put together player ratings for the two sides.

I rated Scotland, while Rob was at Murrayfield to run the rule over Brian Ashton's men.

Scotland:

Hugo Southwell
- Dropped an early catch but regained his composure and was consistent throughout. 6

Rory Lamont - Took a accidental knee in the head from Iain Balshaw midway through the first half, which knocked him out and ended his game. 6

Simon Webster - Part of a solid Scottish midfield that stifled any threat from Toby Flood and Jamie Noon. 7

Graeme Morrison - Made a couple decent breaks and offloaded well in contact. Solid in defence too, making crucial hits. 7

Nikki Walker - Struggled to find any space to exploit his pace but coped well with England’s attacking threat. 6

Chris Paterson - As ever with Paterson, his goal-kicking was brilliant. He provided a useful link between forwards and backs and kept England going backwards with some fine touch-finders. 8

Mike Blair - Had a outstanding game and was the best player on the pitch. He taught Richard Wigglesworth a lesson in international rugby. He was a constant menace, his passing was sharp, along with his kicking from hand. 8

Allan Jacobsen - Scotland’s scrum creaked against England’s front row in the first half but Jacobsen and his colleagues recovered to hold their own in a tight second period. 6

Ross Ford - Early line-out throwing was poor and was a problem area for Scotland. Came off injured midway through the first half. 5

Euan Murray - Along with Allan Jacobsen and Ross Ford, Murray more than held his own against England’s formidable front row. 6

Nathan Hines - An effective target for Scotland in the line-out and made his presence felt on the pitch. 8

Scott MacLeod - The normally reliable Simon Shaw had an erratic game and Scott MacLeod can take a lot of credit for that. A fine display. 7

Alisdair Strokosch - Strokosch was superb at the breakdown and scrapped well for loose ball. Deserved to be on the winning team. 7

Ali Hogg - Fine afternoon from Hogg, who tackled his heart out and was always a willing ball carrier. 7

Simon Taylor - An immense performance from Taylor. He kept Nick Easter and co under wraps with some crucial tackles. 8

Replacements:

Fergus Thomson
- Second-half replacement for Ross Ford at hooker and carried the ball well. 6

Alasdair Dickinson - On for Allan Jacobsen midway through the second half and performed solidly. 6

Craig Smith - On for Euan Murray late on. Not enough time to make an impact. 6

Jason White - Made a massive hit on Paul Sackey late on, sending the winger back a good five yards which eventually resulted in a crucial penalty for Scotland. 7

Kelly Brown - On for Ali Hogg late on. Not enough time to make an impact. 6

Rory Lawson - Late replacement. Not enough time to have any impact. 6

Dan Parks - On for Lamont midway through the first half. Sent over a huge second-half penalty and made a decent contribution throughout. 7

England ratings by Rob Hodgetts.

Iain Balshaw
– Looked like he was meant to be there this time, which is always half the battle. Took an early high ball well and sparked England’s best attack in the first half with a promising counter up the right touchline. Emerged just about intact from Cipriani-gate. Better. 6

Paul Sackey – A reassuring presence on the right wing. Often England’s lone vanguard in attack and always eager for his share of the defensive duties. Not too many chances but always a threat and once again books his place for next time. 7

Jamie Noon – Muscular as always but offered little in attack and his death-or-glory tackling style sometimes leaves him in danger of looking less than clever, shall we say. 4

Toby Flood – A competent footballer and an assured presence outside Jonny Wilkinson. Only able to show hints of class but ball handling and movement suggest there will be better things to come. 6

Lesley Vainikolo – Elicits the old Jason Robinson roar when he gets a chance with the ball in hand but could well have gone off for a cup of tea for most of the first half, such was his involvement. Tried to get more into it in the latter stages but needs to deliver sooner rather than later before the little fumbles and mistakes begin to turn the crowd against him. 4

Jonny Wilkinson – Nothing especially good, nothing especially bad. Kicked his side around the park, sometimes well, sometimes not so well. Though he broke the world record for points scoring, he didn’t keep the scoreboard ticking like he would have wanted to, though it’s not his fault Scotland didn’t give away enough penalties. Despite conditions suited to kicking, he’s in danger of becoming very one-dimensional. 5

Richard Wigglesworth – Solid enough without standing out. A few little cameos but it doesn’t look good when your opposite number is named man of the match, especially at scrum-half. 6

Andrew Sheridan – Another powerful scrummaging performance but guilty of giving away a couple of penalties. Needs to add brains to his brawn to become a truly world-class prop. 6

Lee Mears – An aggressive little bullocking runner with an impressive work rate. The odd throw apart, particularly at a promising England line-out in the first half, a tidy display. 7

Phil Vickery – The skipper is beginning to look vulnerable as England again look rudderless on the pitch. Still offers a threat as an individual and scrummaging remained intact but doesn’t appear, to an outsider’s eye, to provide the rallying point needed. 5

Simon Shaw – It’s no good being big without being smart and often Shaw lets himself down with the latter. Gave away a penalty or two to undo the good work and could do with some more full-on dynamism in the loose. 5

Steve Borthwick – Got through his fair share of work in the line-out and mobile enough in the loose without being a real rampaging force. 5

Tom Croft – A more-than-handy line-out jumper and a powerful, unsung presence around the park. 6

Michael Lipman – Arguably England’s best player and blossoming into a very promising international open-side. Quick-thinking, strong and bristling with a wolf’s menace. Earned plenty of pats on the rump from his colleagues and gets one from me. 7

Nick Easter – A quieter, less bravado number eight than the chest-puffy Dallaglio but no less a work rate for it. But though he’s a mostly solid ball carrier, sometimes you’re left wondering how effective it all is. Being everywhere doesn’t necessarily mean everything is good. Squandered a great self-made counter when he forgot to look where he was passing. 5

Replacements:

George Chuter
– Replaced Mears on 66 minutes. Not really able to change things. 5

Matt Stevens – Replaced Vickery on 69 minutes. A couple of big hits and some carries. Maybe more significant that the captain went off. 5

Ben Kay – replaced Simon Shaw on 66 minutes. No time to make an impact.

Luke Narraway – replaced Lipman on 73 minutes. No time to make an impact.

Mathew Tait – replaced Flood on 66 minutes. Took over at outside centre from Noon when Flood limped off. Eager but not too much time to impress. 5

Charlie Hodgson – replaced Wilkinson on 69 minutes. Was brought on to offer something different and looked lively but probably too big an ask, given the circumstances. 6


Latest 10 comments

Read members' comments or add your own

posted Mar 11, 2008

I think those scores for the England players are far too generous!

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comment by tonyoy (U10476409)

posted Mar 11, 2008

On another board I've suggested two 'aspirins' for England's current pains:-
One. Move the under-used Vainikolo to outside centre, where his straight running, off-load ability and cover tackling will be welcomed, and give him (and us) Simpson-Daniel on his wing. Those two clubmates in combination could be deadly. Assuming that we take the second pill..

Two. Put Chippy at No 10. JW admitted he couldn't think what to do against Scotland, and he's supposed to be calling the shots. But -no subtle chips or grubbers, no decent cross-kicks, no breaks (except the attempted one which gave Scotland three points) and no creativity. Let's have some-one who believes in himself and is prepared to do his stuff in public.

And, by the way, Put Josh Lewsey back where he belongs.

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posted Mar 11, 2008

I honestly think it would be possible to play better than England did entirely by accident!

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posted Mar 11, 2008

I completely agree with you Robert. It is a time for experimentation and using the next couple of 6 nations as a plateaux to the next world cup. The older guys should get the axe and the younger guys should be thrown into the deep end and seen how they swim, for it will be their names we have on the back of our shirts in the next 4 years not vickery's or many of the team. Varndell, danny, allen, tait, Ryan, waldouck, flood, JSD,rees croft, haskell. This is the future for us, we should look to it not back to that day in France were we put up a fight against the SA. Of course we need an element of experience but Ashton needs to look to the future and toughen up, look at the welsh, not just because I’m a wasp man myself but there coaching ability is the reason for the success, they had those big names at the WC but look at them now.

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posted Mar 11, 2008

return of the living dead 3?
did england put cement in their boots? i watched the 1985 ireland v england game on sky and the players looked fitter, and faster. with quick ball used all the time, what a difference. the forwards against scotland (deserved winners by a mile) seem content to slob all over the ball and slow it down, someone should tell them not to just lie on it.where is the direction from the captain? senior players? thickos

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posted Mar 11, 2008

Enlgand should tap in to the plethora of talent that is currently making the GP the domestic league in the world. That's right they can't because all the best players are not Enlgish.

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posted Mar 12, 2008

How on earth can you have rated Sakey a 7? I'm mystified. He reminds me of the 2 dimensional, one-trick pony, Cohen. Only a Cohen made of paper and with stone boots.

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posted Mar 12, 2008

stefanjng (U9930951) RE Sackey - utter rubbish, mate. Go watch aome tapes of him, come back and rewrite your dross.

Nonsense.

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posted Mar 13, 2008

i believe that scotland played out of their skins, im just annoyed that much of the media said that england were just utter rubbish and not actually commenting on how well scotland played. along with many of my friends i believe that balshaw should have been at least cited for his outragous "tackle" on rory lamont. it was a cowardly attack from balshaw and he should have been punished in some way for it.

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comment by GDubz (U9182605)

posted Mar 14, 2008

Johnny has just gained the record for highest points tally in test rugby. He is one of the best players to grace the game. The English are so use to him playing like a robot, slotting over kicks, crunching tackles, they forget he is in fact human and is allowed a bad game now and again. Too quick to drop him, seems to me the press are more influencal in selection these days. You cant drop one of the best players ever because of a bad game. The team around him also played cr*p and how Balshaw has maanged to pull an England shirt on again is beyond me.

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