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Scotland make wholesale changes for Romania clash

By Tom Vinicombe
Scotland's Grant Gilchrist (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Head coach Gregor Townsend has rejigged Scotland’s line-up for the second-last pool game of the side’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

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Just two players who featured in the starting line-up from last weekend’s victory over Tonga have been retained in the run-on side for Saturday’s clash with Romania in Toulouse, midfielder Chris Harris and wing Kyle Steyn.

In the front row, Jamie Bhatti and Javan Sebastian will sandwich hooker Ewan Ashman, while Sam Skinner and new captain Grant Gilchrist will pack down at lock.

Luke Crosbie, Hamish Watson – in his first appearance of the tournament – and number 8 Matt Fagerson round out the pack.

Ali Price and Ben Healy will guide Scotland around the park from the halves with outside centre Harris partnering Cam Redpath. Steyn switches from the right wing to the left, allowing Darcy Graham to don the No 14 jersey. Rounding out the starting line-up, Ollie Smith gets a shot at fullback.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

3
Wins
0
1
Streak
5
21
Tries Scored
5
68
Points Difference
-305
3/5
First Try
1/5
3/5
First Points
1/5
3/5
Race To 10 Points
0/5

Johnny Matthews could make his Test debut off the bench having only recently joined the squad as a replacement for Stuart McInally while the rest of the reserves boast plenty of experience between them. Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Scott Cummings and Rory Darge will cover the forwards and George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Huw Jones will look to provide impact in the backline.

While Scotland suffered an 18-3 loss to South Africa in the opening game of their 2023 World Cup campaign, a strong performance against Tonga means they can still progress to the knockout stages of the competition provided they win their final two matches against Romania and Ireland.

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Romania, on the other hand, have endured a torrid time of things in France, losing their first two matches of the competition by 74 points and 76 points against Ireland and South Africa respectively.

Scotland’s match with Romania is set to kick off at 9pm CET on Saturday.

Scotland: Ollie Smith, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Cameron Redpath, Kyle Steyn, Ben Healy, Ali Price, Matt Fagerson, Hamish Watson, Luke Crosbie, Grant Gilchrist (c), Sam Skinner, Javan Sebastian, Ewan Ashman, Jamie Bhatti. Reserves: Johnny Matthews, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Scott Cummings, Rory Darge, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn, Huw Jones.

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The Simon Raiwalui verdict on the reimagined Pacific Nations Cup

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