Scotland player ratings: Finn Russell blows hot and cold in historic Six Nations win over Wales

Jared Wright
Scotland's Duhan van der Merwe (centre) celebrates with team-mates Finn Russell and Jamie Ritchie after scoring their side's second try of the game during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.

Scotland's Duhan van der Merwe (centre) celebrates with team-mates Finn Russell and Jamie Ritchie after scoring their side's second try of the game during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.

Following Scotland’s first win over Wales in Cardiff in 22 years, here is how we rated Gregor Townsend’s charges in a 27-26 Six Nations victory.

Scotland player ratings v Wales

15 Kyle Rowe: A fantastic story of resilience as he earned his second Test cap after all his setbacks and London Irish’s collapse. He was solid at the back and hugely assisted Scotland’s kicking dominance in the first half in particular. Stepped up in Blair Kinghorn’s absence. 7

14 Kyle Steyn: A few lapses in defence, which ultimately proved costly, and much like the rest of his teammates, he started the game superbly before falling off as it went on. Steyn did well with the ball in hand but won’t be pleased overall. 6

Huwipulotu

13 Huw Jones: One of the players who really tried to swing the momentum back into Scotland‘s favour in the latter stages of the game but was unsuccessful in doing so. The closeness of the result is not his doing. 7

12 Sione Tuipulotu: His yellow card proved costly as he paid the price for previous infringements. However, when he was on the pitch, he was superb linking up well with Finn Russell and Jones and was solid defensively. 6

11 Duhan van der Merwe: Ran a neat line to end his try-scoring drought as he got an easy walk-in, but his second try was another special one and also assisted by his fly-half. He was a joy to watch in full flight again, and while there were some lapses in defence, it was an otherwise excellent performance for the most part. 8

Finn Russell blows hot and cold

10 Finn Russell: An absolute masterclass in the first half as he bossed proceedings with his cultured boot and sublime running game. That extended into the early knockings of the second half as he assisted Van der Merwe’s two scores. He did enough to lead his side to a historic first win in Cardiff in 22 years, but he really fell off for most of the third quarter, allowing Wales back into the game. 8

9 Ben White: Threw a glorious long pass in the build-up to Van der Merwe’s first try and also played a big part in Scotland’s dominant kicking game in the first half. 7

Back-five forwards

8 Matt Fagerson: The Scottish number eight was committed and accurate on defence for most of the match but did have a soft moment after a restart that allowed Wales to build on their momentum. Fagerson did what was required of him without too much fuss; he showed off his huge work rate but was outplayed by his opposite number. 7

7 Jamie Ritchie: A busy hour shift, making 14 tackles, and was key to Scotland’s pressuring of Wales’ lineout. He had little impact on attack but got stuck into the Welsh forwards, and for most of the time that he was on the pitch, the Scottish pack was on top. 7

6 Luke Crosbie: Much like his fellow back-rowers, he got the job done and put in a tidy 60-odd minute shift. He got his hands on the ball plenty but struggled to get headway through the red wall. 6

5 Scott Cummings: Started the game well and was crucial to Scotland’s defensive lineout. The Scottish pack hammered the Welsh attack, landing some hefty hits, and Cummings was a key cog in their effort. 7

4 Richie Gray: His game was cut short in the 32nd minute, and up to that stage, he was having a strong outing in all facets. 5

Front row

3 Zander Fagerson: A tough night in the scrums for the Scottish front-row, who posted a 44% success rate, and much of that has to lie with the props and the tighthead in particular. He was solid in the loose for the most part but made a poor tackle on Aaron Wainwright as the number eight dotted down. 6

2 George Turner: There was a lot of good about what the hooker did in this historic win, but his silly yellow card almost cost Scotland dearly as it gave Wales a route back into the game. 5

1 Pierre Schoeman: May have had a few issues in the scrums, but the loosehead prop was outstanding in open play, making 15 tackles, one turnover and scored a try. 8

Replacements: Sam Skinner had a decent outing in place of Gray while Jack Dempsey made his mark on defence, but overall, Scotland were flatter dominated in the latter stages of the game. 4

READ MORE: Scotland survive almighty Six Nations scare against Wales to end Cardiff hoodoo

Planet Rugby player ratings key

10 – Career-defining performance
9 – Outright blockbuster effort
8 – Significantly influenced the result of the game
7 – Committed and effective outing
6 – Flashes of brilliance outside of executing fundamentals
5 – Fulfilling the role required by position (base level)
4 – Poor execution of fundamentals
3 – Costly errors and/or discipline in the game
2 – Poor performance that directly impacted the result
1 – Grossly ineffective throughout
0 – Should have carried water instead