Scotland player ratings: Pierre Schoeman’s ill-discipline proves costly in defeat to Italy

Jared Wright
Scotland's players stand together at the end of the Six Nations rugby union international match between Italy and Scotland, at Rome's Olympic Stadium, Saturday, March 9, 2024. Italy beat Scotland by 31-29. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Scotland's players stand together at the end of the Six Nations rugby union international match between Italy and Scotland, at Rome's Olympic Stadium, Saturday, March 9, 2024. Italy beat Scotland by 31-29. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Following Scotland’s 31-29 loss to Italy in Rome, here is how we rated Gregor Townsend’s charges in the Six Nations clash.

Scotland player ratings v Italy

15 Blair Kinghorn: A few nice touches in attack as he entered as a first receiver. He was caught out of position on occasions, but overall, Kinghorn fulfilled the requirements of his role. 5

14 Kyle Steyn: Took his chance well to open the scoring but was caught heavy-legged when Ross Vintcent sped past him with ease before Stephen Varney’s score took Italy ahead. Poor moments on defence and four turnovers conceded. 4

13 Huw Jones: Outplayed by his opposite number today as he wasn’t quite at his best without his usual centre partner. His best moment was setting up George Horne for the disallowed try. 4

12 Cameron Redpath: A few lapses in defence but had some good touches in attack. A solid outing without impressing too much. His big carry led to a try to give the Scots a late chance but it wasn’t enough. 5

11 Duhan van der Merwe: No try this time around and he had his opportunities. Van der Merwe got his hands on the ball plenty, gaining over 90 metres. Denied a try brilliantly before the break but should have backed himself on the outside on a few occasions. 6


10 Finn Russell: All good things come to an end, and today it was Russell’s 100% success rate off the tee this Six Nations as he failed to convert Pierre Schoeman’s try after knocking over 18/18 attempts this Championship. Masterful for most of the first half as he steered his side to a 22-16 lead. Kicked well out of hand for most of the game and did his utmost to orchestrate a winning score and if they were to get it, it was going to come from his magic. 6

9 George Horne: A star of the first half, and the Scottish attack looked at its best with him linking up with Russell. Appeared to have scored a deserved try before it was ruled out by Schoeman’s actions. Hooked at 59 minutes as the Scots looked for more game management with Ali Price. 5

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

Planet Rugby’s player ratings key.

Italy end 11-year wait for Rome triumph as Scotland’s Six Nations hopes dented

Loose forwards

8 Jack Dempsey: He kept his side in the game, winning a crucial penalty before the break. Like many of his forwards, he met the requirements of his position but wasn’t overly impressive outside of that key breakdown penalty. 5

7 Rory Darge: Much of the same as he was busy around the park on both sides of the ball. His usual standard performance expected of him but not much outside of that. 5

6 Andy Christie: There was a lot to like about his first Six Nations start as he made an excellent intercept that led to Russell’s 50:22, and Schoeman capitalised from the resulting lineout. He also made a fantastic break from another loose ball, but his teammates needed to react quicker as they lost possession from a promising position from there. Committed on defence and great on attack but his penalty count of three shows that he needs to do some work. 6

Tight five

5 Scott Cummings: Part of a well-run Scottish lineout on attack and defence. A solid tackle count but did concede a penalty. 5

4 Grant Gilchrist: Quieter on defence than many of his fellow forwards. Also a key man in the lineout effort. 4

3 Zander Fagerson: Crossed the whitewash from close range and was solid in the scrums. Was sharp defensively and won a turnover. 6

2 George Turner: Two tries came from his accurate lineout throws while he racked up an impressive tackle count (16) and got good purchase from his carries. 7

1 Pierre Schoeman: Got on the scoreboard and held his own in the scrums, but he made an incredibly costly error by flattening Vintcent off the ball and denying his side a try, and Italy scored almost immediately afterwards, a 10 point swing at least. 3

Replacements: A handy cameo from Matt Fagerson and Sam Skinner wasn’t denied this time to give Scotland a chance. Needing to chase the game meant that Scotland demanded a lot from their bench, which they didn’t get. 4

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