Scotland player ratings: Duhan van der Merwe demolishes England in tight Six Nations win

Jared Wright
player ratings duhan van der merwe Scotland claimed a 23-29 victory over England in their opening Six Nations match to retain the Calcutta Cup; here is how we rated the players. 

Scotland claimed a 29-23 victory over England in their opening Six Nations match to retain the Calcutta Cup; here is how we rated the players. 

15 Stuart Hogg: Solid under the high ball as per usual and was up to the kicking battle that Freddie Steward, Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell posed. He had some bright moments but also left another try begging with a poor decision. 6

14 Kyle Steyn: His fellow winger will grab the headlines this weekend, but Steyn was as crucial to Scotland’s victory as Van der Merwe. He was safe under the high ball and made some great defensive reads. He also made a key break in their last try. 7

Fantastic flyers

13 Huw Jones: Back in the starting line-up and back scoring tries against England. Five in five games now against the Red Rose. The exciting centre ran stellar lines throughout, keeping the England defence guessing and scrambling while he defended well too. 8

12 Sione Tuipulotu: Much like his fly-half, he had up and down moments. Steward rampaged over the Scottish midfielder while claiming a try assist. However, he was also caught out on defence when Ellis Genge crashed over the line, which could have cost Scotland in the end. 6

11 Duhan van der Merwe: His try from inside his own half will be discussed in pubs for years to come and will feature in every promotional video for the next 50 years at least. Beat the first defender with almost every touch and scored the crucial score to win the match. A demolition job. 9

10 Finn Russell: Never a dull moment with Russell on the pitch. Overall, it was a see-saw performance from the mercurial fly-half, with moments of brilliance sprinkled together with some below-par blushes. He kept England guessing with his variety of kicks, one setting up Jones, but some others simply wasted good opportunities. 7

9 Ben White: Sniped down the touchline for a real poacher’s try, his second score against England, but overall it was a strong game from the London Irish half-back. The hosts controlled the possession for large parts of the match, but White was crucial in Scotland, being lethal when they had their chances. 7

Big hits, hard work

8 Matt Fagerson: Top-drawer performance from the number eight who topped the tackle count, assisted a try and hammered into the England defence with the ball in hand. Stellar performance and was a serious contender for man of the match. 9

7 Luke Crosbie: An action-packed hour-long performance which included a massive 20 tackles, the second-highest tally in the game. He didn’t miss once. Didn’t do too much on attack, but England dominated possession. 7

6 Jamie Ritchie: Locked over the ball to secure the final penalty and seal the win for Scotland, the captain led from the front throughout. He was superb on defence, and carried strongly when he needed to. 8

5 Grant Gilchrist: A pest for England when they attempted to get their rolling maul going, Gilchrist was another tireless defender and a threat to the lineout, winning a steal. 6

4 Richie Gray: A standard Richie Gray performance as he flew into rucks, made his tackles and offered the solid carry option. He was a safe lineout option that George Turner and Fraser Brown found easily. Perfectly timed his pass for Van der Merwe’s second. 7

Up front

3 WP Nel: A solid shift from the veteran tighthead who proves time and time again that he is still up to the task of Test rugby. Strong in the scrums, winning a penalty, and busy clearing out rucks and hitting white jerseys on defence. 7

2 George Turner: An unblemished record at lineout time while he was on the pitch with Scotland often going long from the set-piece, and he was accurate. Busy on defence but got little purchase from his carries. 6

1 Pierre Schoeman: A tireless work rate saw him top the tackle count for the Scots for most of the match. He held his own in a tasty scrum battle with Kyle Sinckler. 7

Replacements: In a match of tight margins, the benches certainly played their role in the final result and with Scotland coming out on top, their replacements need to be recognised. George Horne added a spark to surge his side to the winning try; Jack Dempsey was abrasive and sharp, while Blair Kinghorn also played a role in the winning try. 7

READ MORE: WATCH: Duhan van der Merwe scores an OUTRAGEOUS 58-metre solo try against England