Scotland: Rugby World Cup 2023 review

Scotland: Rugby World Cup 2023 review

Abiding memory

The sight of captain Jamie Ritchie and full-back Blair Kinghorn, who had been the most bullish before the crucial Pool B decider with Ireland, sitting dejectedly on the sidelines at the Stade de France in Paris having both been forced off early by injury as Scotland bowed out off the Rugby World Cup.

Try of the Tournament

There were some cracking individual efforts in the 12-try victory over Romania but George Horne’s score against Tonga when they had been pegged back to 24-17 proved crucial. And it was all down to Duhan van van der Merwe who swept past four defenders before sending his teammate in at the corner. 

Quote that said it all

"We’re not going to die wondering, we’ve got to fire every bullet in our gun,” said captain Ritchie before the game with Ireland. Unfortunately, for Scotland, the bullets proved to be blanks as they found themselves 36-0 down before Ireland withdrew their big guns from the field, winning 36-14 eventually.

Man of the moment

There are few speedier wings in world rugby than Darcy Graham. A race-off with Louis Rees-Zammit of Wales would be interesting. The blonde-haired Graham showed his speed and ability with a four-try burst against Romania having come off the bench against Tonga to also grab a try, finishing the tournament with a personal haul of five.

One for the future

Scotland will have to find a successor to Finn Russell at some stage. Tipperary-born Ben Healy showed against Romania he could step into the boots of the maverick fly-half at some point with a 27-point haul including a try and a faultless display from the tee, converting all 11 of his attempts.

From the Touchline

Former Scotland international Kenny Logan led a team that walked and cycled the 700 miles from Murrayfield to deliver the match ball at Stade de France to raise £555,555 for the Doddie Weir Foundation, which supports the fight against Motor Neuron Disease, set-up by Logan’s teammate and former giant of the Scottish game who sadly died last year.

Key statistics

Finn Russell showed his influence against Ireland making the second-most carries of anyone on the pitch (18) and made the second-most metres of anyone on the pitch (84). The only player to carry more was Sione Tuipulotu who carried 21 times but made just 26 metres, such was the ferocity of the Ireland defence.


Having been drawn with the reigning world champions, South Africa, and the world number one team, Ireland, it was always going to be a tough ask to qualify from the so-called ‘Pool of Death’. Scotland knew they would have to win one of those games, but an 18-3 defeat against the Springboks in their opening game in Marseille dented their hopes. After comfortable wins against Tonga and Romania, it was all down to the final game where a rampant Ireland could not be held at bay ending Scotland’s hopes in the group stage for the third time in the last four tournaments.

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