Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has made 13 changes to his team’s lineup for Sunday’s Pool A encounter against Japan in Yokohama.
Townsend fielded a B-team in the 61-0 win over Russia earlier in the week, but has now called on his first choice players for their must-win match against the hosts.
Captain Stuart McInally has not returned to the starting XV, with Townsend instead opting to play Fraser Brown at hooker at the expense of George Turner. South African-born props WP Nel and Allan Dell also return to the front row, while locks Jonny Gray and Grant Gilchrist come into the second row to complete the tight five.
Blade Thomson, Jamie Ritchie and Magnus Bradbury are the new back-row combination for this game.
Only two players – wings Tommy Seymour and Darcy Graham – from the previous starting lineup survived the cut. They are joined in the backline by fullback Stuart Hogg, centres Chris Harris and Sam Johnson, and the trusted halfback-axis of Finn Russell and stand-in captain Greig Laidlaw.
The match between Scotland and Japan has been subjected to much speculation with fears growing it could be cancelled due to typhoon Hagibis. A row has since broken out between Scotland and tournament organisers, with the Scottish Rugby Union threatening to take legal action if the game is called off.
Scotland – 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Darcy Graham, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Allan Dell.
Subs: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 George Horne, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Blair Kinghorn.
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