The play-making midfielder is one of 10 changes to the side that defeated France 17-14 at BT Murrayfield last weekend. He will make his comeback against Georgia in Tbilisi alongside 23-year-old Rory Hutchinson, who will start his first Test match.
Scotland will be the first tier one national side to travel for a Test match on Georgian soil, which doubles as the last opportunity for players to stake their claim for the final 31-man group for World Cup 2019 in Japan as head coach Gregor Townsend is announcing his final pick on September 3.
Townsend, said: “We’re pleased to welcome Sam back into the side having performed so well for us in the spring, while a number of other players also get the opportunity to build on Saturday’s performance.
“There were improvements in our back-to-back games against France, in particular in defence, game management and at scrum, as well some elements of our attack. All of these will be put to the test against a very good Georgian side who we expect to be extremely motivated by their passionate home support.
BREAKING | Scotland team named to face Georgia in Saturday’s Test match in Tbilisi! #AsOne
1??2?? Johnson returns
? McInally to skipper
1?? First start for Hutchinson
? First Tier One national side to travel for a Test on Georgian soil pic.twitter.com/eYlUkJtK2z
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) August 29, 2019
“We’re expecting a very physical and confrontational encounter, which will be a great test for our squad. In order to rise to this challenge, we must take the game to our hosts right from the start, playing with relentless effort and accuracy.”
Hooker Stuart McInally returns to start the match and will captain the side once again, having done so in the opening Test against France in Nice, while the team also features first campaign starts for full-back Blair Kinghorn, prop Allan Dell and No8 Matt Fagerson.
Wing Darcy Graham replaces the injured Tommy Seymour (head), with Sean Maitland remaining on the other flank of the back three. Returning half-backs Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell complete the back division.
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In the pack, prop Willem Nel starts again on the tighthead side alongside Dell and McInally in the front-row, while second and back row forwards Grant Gilchrist and John Barclay have been promoted from the bench to start.
Scotland (v Georgia, Saturday)
15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 13 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 5 caps
13. Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – 2 caps
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 41 caps
10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 44 caps
9. Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) 72 caps
1. Allan Dell (London Irish) – 23 caps
2. Stuart McInally (captain – Edinburgh) – 28 caps
3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 30 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 19 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 35 caps
6. John Barclay (Edinburgh) – 73 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 26 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
16. Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
17. Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps
19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps
20. Josh Strauss (Blue Bulls) – 23 caps
21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 25 caps
22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
23. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 22 caps
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