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Scotland name team for Japan clash in Edinburgh

Scotland name team for Japan clash in Edinburgh

Scotland Stuart Hogg

Gregor Townsend has made seven changes to the Scotland side for their clash with Japan at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

There are two changes in the backline and a further five in the forward pack following their 30-15 defeat to South Africa in the Autumn Nations Series last week.

In the backline, Sam Johnson returns to inside centre, replacing Matt Scott, while Darcy Graham replaces Rufus McLean on the right wing.

Graham is joined in the back three by captain Stuart Hogg, who is looking to break the Scotland try-scoring record, and Duhan Van Der Merwe in the back three.

Johnson is partnered by Gloucester Rugby centre Chris Harris in the midfield, outside a half-back pairing of Finn Russell and Ali Price.

In the forward pack, there are several changes to the side that lost to the Springboks, with Jamie Bhatti earning his first Scotland start since August 2019.

George Turner and Zander Fagerson complete an all-Glasgow front row. Scott Cummings makes his first Scotland start of the season, alongside Grant Gilchrist in the engine room.

In the back row, Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie are joined by Josh Bayliss, who makes his first Scotland start at No.8.

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On the bench, there are two potential debuts for Scotland, with Javan Sebastian and Dylan Richardson both in line to make their Scottish bows at BT Murrayfield.

Townsend said: “We have had a positive week as a squad and want to close out our Autumn Nations Series campaign with an improved performance against a Japan side we expect to challenge us from the outset on Saturday.

“This group of players have another opportunity to represent their country this weekend and show the progress we have made as a group over the past four weeks.

“The Autumn Series has been a great opportunity for us to test the depth of our squad and also build on the performances of our Six Nations campaign.

“Last Saturday’s defeat was a valuable – if painful – learning experience for us, and we’ve been encouraged by how well the squad has trained this week in response to the loss against South Africa.

“We know how much a winning performance can lift our nation and we will be giving everything for our supporters at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.”

Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, 87 caps) – Captain, 14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby, 21 caps), 13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, 30 caps), 12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors, 20 caps), 11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, 12 caps), 10. Finn Russell (Racing 92, 57 caps) – Vice-Captain, 9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, 45 caps); 1. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors, 21 caps), 2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors, 19 caps), 3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, 41 caps), 4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors, 20 caps), 5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby, 47 caps), 6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby, 30 caps) – Vice-Captain, 7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, 44 caps), 8. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)

Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby, 42 caps), 17. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby, 3 caps), 18. Javan Sebastian (Scarlets, Uncapped), 19. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps), 20. Dylan Richardson (Cell C Sharks, Uncapped), 21. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, 16 caps), 22. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors, 16 caps), 23. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby, 27 caps)

Japan team to face Scotland: 15. Ryohei Yamanka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Shogo Nakano, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Siosaia Fifita, 10 Rikiya Matsuda, 9 Yutaka Nagare; 1 Craig Millar, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 3 Asaeli Ai Valu, 4 Jack Cornelsen, 5 James Moore, 6 Michael Leitch, 7 Pieter Labuschagne ©, 8 Kazuki Himeno

Replacements: 16 Kosuke Horikoshi, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Ben Gunter, 20 Tevita Tatafu, 21 Naoto Saito, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Dylan Riley

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