Scotland team to face Japan in Autumn Nations Series finale
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has made seven changes to the starting XV for the final Autumn Nations Series match against Japan at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 20 November – kick-off 1pm.
Fresh from equalling Scotland’s all-time try scoring record in the South Africa fixture last week Captain Stuart Hogg starts at full-back to earn his 88th cap and move into fourth position in the Scotland male all-time list.
In the backs, Glasgow Warriors’ Sam Johnson starts at inside centre alongside Gloucester Rugby’s Chris Harris at outside centre.
Edinburgh Rugby’s Darcy Graham and Worcester Warriors’ Duhan Van Der Merwe are selected to take up the two wing berths.
Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell, Vice-Captain, starts at 10 and again partners with Glasgow Warriors’ scrum-half, Ali Price, to complete the same Scotland backline which started in the win over Australia two weeks ago.
Townsend makes five changes to the pack for the Japan game from the starting XV which took on South Africa last Saturday.
Glasgow Warriors’ prop Jamie Bhatti earns his first Scotland start since August 2019 when he lined up against France in a pre-Rugby World Cup 2019 fixture.
He is joined in the front row by club-mate George Turner who has recovered from an injury sustained against Australia to pack down at hooker.
An all-Glasgow front row is completed by Zander Fagerson at tight-head.
In a new-look back-row Josh Bayliss makes his first start for Scotland at number eight after his debut off the bench against Australia two weeks ago.
Edinburgh Rugby flankers Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson resume their blindside and openside positions from the Wallabies win, with Ritchie also named as Vice-Captain.
Glasgow Warriors lock Scott Cummings makes his first Scotland appearance of the season as he completes his return from injury to partner Edinburgh Rugby’s Grant Gilchrist in the second row.
There is the possibility of Scotland debuts for two players named in the replacements for the Japan contest with Scarlets’ prop Javan Sebastian and Cell C Sharks back-row forward Dylan Richardson both called into the matchday 23 for the first time.
Edinburgh Rugby front row pair Stuart McInally and Pierre Schoeman are available off the bench after featuring last week against South Africa, as is Glasgow Warriors’ number eight Matt Fagerson and Exeter Chiefs’ forward Sam Skinner.
The two players covering the back positions are Edinburgh Rugby’s Blair Kinghorn and Glasgow Warriors’ George Horne, both of whom featured against South Africa.
Head Coach, Gregor Townsend said: “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.
“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.”
Scotland team to face Japan in the 2021 Autumn Nations Series at BT Murrayfield, live on Amazon Prime – kick-off 1pm.
15. Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs - (Captain) – 87 caps
14. Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 21 caps
13. Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 30 caps
12. Sam Johnson – Glasgow Warriors – 20 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 12 caps
10. Finn Russell – Racing 92 - (Vice-Captain) – 57 caps
9. Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 45 caps
1. Jamie Bhatti – Glasgow Warriors – 21 caps
2. George Turner – Glasgow Warriors - 19 caps
3. Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 41 caps
4. Scott Cummings – Glasgow Warriors – 20 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – 47 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie – Edinburgh Rugby - (Vice-Captain) – 30 caps
7. Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 44 caps
8. Josh Bayliss – Bath Rugby – 1 cap
16. Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby 42 caps
17. Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 3 caps
18. Javan Sebastian – Scarlets – Uncapped
19. Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps
20. Dylan Richardson – Cell C Sharks - Uncapped
21. Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 16 caps
22. George Horne – Glasgow Warriors – 16 caps
23. Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 27 caps