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Scotland ring the changes for final Autumn Nations Series match

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by PA)

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Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has made a total of seven changes to the starting side for the final Autumn Nations Series match against Japan at BT Murrayfield.


Stuart Hogg begins at full-back for his 88th cap, moving him into fourth place on the all-time Scotland male list.

Sam Johnson of Glasgow Warriors starts at inside centre, while Chris Harris of Gloucester starts at outside him at 13.

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Darcy Graham of Edinburgh and Duhan Van Der Merwe of Worcester Warriors have been chosen to fill the two wing positions.

For the Japan encounter, Townsend makes five changes to the pack from the starting XV that faced South Africa on Saturday. Jamie Bhatti of Glasgow Warriors makes his first Scotland start since August 2019, when he played against France in a pre-World Cup match. George Turner, who has recovered from an injury suffered against Australia to pack down at hooker, joins him in the front row. At tight-head, Zander Fagerson completes an all-Glasgow front row.

Josh Bayliss, who made his debut off the bench against Australia two weeks ago, makes his first start for Scotland at number eight in a new-look back-row.

Edinburgh flankers Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson have been named Vice-Captain and will resume their blindside and openside positions from the Wallabies triumph.


Scott Cummings of Glasgow Warriors makes his first Scotland appearance of the season, returning from injury to partner Edinburgh Rugby’s Grant Gilchrist in the second row.

Two players included in the substitutes for the Japan match, Scarlets prop Javan Sebastian and Cell C Sharks back-row forward Dylan Richa, might make their Scotland debuts.

“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,” said Head Coach, Gregor Townsend. “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.”

15. Stuart Hogg
14. Darcy Graham
13. Chris Harris
12. Sam Johnson
11. Duhan van der Merwe
10. Finn Russell
9. Ali Price
1. Jamie Bhatti
2. George Turner
3. Zander Fagerson
4. Scott Cummings
5. Grant Gilchrist
6. Jamie Ritchie
7. Hamish Watson
8. Josh Bayliss

16. Stuart McInally
17. Pierre Schoeman
18. Javan Sebastian
19. Sam Skinner
20. Dylan Richardson
21. Matt Fagerson
22. George Horne
23. Blair Kinghorn


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