Gregor Townsend has made 10 changes to his side to take on Ireland in Sunday’s World Cup opener in Yokohama. Scotland defeated Georgia 36-9 in their warm-up match in Edinburgh on September 6, but Townsend has rung the changes to face the Irish, naming a starting team featuring a total of 630 Test caps. 


Full-back Stuart Hogg and winger Sean Maitland return to the back three to partner Tommy Seymour. Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell return to start at half-back, with midfielders Sam Johnson and Duncan Taylor the only backs to be retained.

Ryan Wilson and Jonny Gray are the only forwards to remain in a pack which features the remaining six changes, including a new front row trio of Allan Dell, captain Stuart McInally and Willem Nel. Grant Gilchrist returns to partner Gray at second row, while Hamish Watson and John Barclay join Wilson in the loose forwards.

“We have had a really productive week’s preparation in Nagasaki ahead of our arrival in Tokyo, with our players adapting to the time zone and weather conditions out here in Japan,” said Townsend. “As we have got closer to the game our training has been more about fine-tuning the hard work that has gone in over pre-season into a focus for Sunday’s game.

“Our team has a lot of experience playing together in major games for Scotland, with a bench capable of making a difference when required. That cohesion, experience and leadership are very valuable in a build-up to a match of this magnitude as well as during the 80 minutes on Sunday.

(Continue reading below…)

Video Spacer

“In Ireland, we face a quality opposition who, over the past number of years, have earned the right to be the No1 ranked side in the world.

“We know them well and are well aware of the strengths they possess throughout their squad. We expect them to play very well, as they did in their most recent games against Wales, so only our best performance will do in order to win.

“The prospect of facing them in the opening round of a World Cup is a fantastic challenge for our players and supporters around the world.”

SCOTLAND (v Ireland, Sunday) 


15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 69 caps

14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 52 caps

13. Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 23 caps

12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps

11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 42 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 46 caps

9. Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 73 caps

1. Allan Dell (London Irish) – 25 caps

2. Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 29 caps

3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 31 caps

4. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 36 caps

5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 52 caps

6. John Barclay (Edinburgh) – 74 caps

7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 27 caps

8. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 45 caps


16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps

17. Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) – 37 caps

18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 22 caps

19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps

20. Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 2 caps

21. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 27 caps

22. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 10 caps

23. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 7 caps

WATCH: The RugbyPass Lego World Cup

Video Spacer

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now