“We’ve picked a team we believe is capable of defeating an increasingly impressive and combative Russia side, who are looking to finish their pool campaign on a high,” says Townsend
Last Updated: 07/10/19 9:22am
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made 14 changes for Wednesday’s crucial Rugby World Cup clash with Russia in Shizuoka.
Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham is the only man to keep his place from last week’s 34-0 thrashing of Samoa as Townsend shuffles his pack in order to keep his top stars fresh for Sunday’s Pool A showdown against hosts Japan.
Scotland need to take all five points on offer against Russia before beating Japan at the weekend, while also ensuring the Brave Blossoms do not outscore them on bonus points.
Here is your Scotland team to face Russia in our third #RWC2019 Test at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa! #AsOne
Kick-off 8.15am BST, 4.15pm local time – Live on ITV/STV pic.twitter.com/Da99KryJ4l
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) October 7, 2019
With that in mind, Townsend has decided to take no chances by asking too many of his key players to turn out twice in the space of four days.
Townsend’s selection means full-back Blair Kinghorn, centre Pete Horne, lock Ben Toolis and hooker George Turner will all get the chance to impress against Russia, while scrum-half Henry Pyrgos – a late replacement call-up for the injured Ali Price – will do the same if he gets off the bench.
“First and foremost we’ve picked a team we believe is capable of defeating an increasingly impressive and combative Russia side, who are looking to finish their pool campaign on a high,” said Townsend.
“A number of our players are getting their first start or Test in this tournament and have been itching to play their part in this World Cup, by helping the team deliver a winning performance on Wednesday.
“Any successful World Cup campaign is built on a squad effort and those players who didn’t get the opportunity to start against Samoa really helped provide that team with a quality week of preparation.
“Now it’s their chance to get stuck into our next important game as we enter the final week of our pool matches.”
Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Darcy Graham, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 George Horne; 1 Gordon Reid, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Scott Cummings, 5 Ben Toolis, 6 John Barclay, 7 Fraser Brown, 8 Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Simon Berghan, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Jamie Ritchie, 22 Henry Pyrgos, 23 Chris Harris.
Source : Sky Sports