EDINBURG, Scotland (NWN) – Scotland made seven changes to a team that lost 30-15 to South Africa for the rugby Test against Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday.
There were five changes to the pack, including a debut for prop Jamie Bhatti from August 2019. Oncoming hooker George Turner helped fill an all-Glasgow front row with prop Zander Fegerson.
Locke Scott Cummings had returned from injury for his first start of the autumn, and number 8 Josh Bayliss was handed his first career start after making his debut off the bench in a win against Australia two weeks earlier.
Lions flanker Hamish Watson was also back after starting on the bench in a Springboks defeat.
The only changes to the backline were recalled for Inside Center Sam Johnson and Wing Darcy Graham for Matt Scott and Rufus McLean, who left.
Scotland could introduce two reserves: scarlet prop Javan Sebastian, who played for Wales age-group sides but has a Scottish father, and South African Sharks back-rover Dylan Richardson, who also has a Scottish father. .
Japan brought back captain and flanker Peter Labuschagne after being rested for a 38-25 win over Portugal last weekend.
Center Shogo Nakano, who made his debut against Portugal, was retained, and Sungoliath teammate and prop Shinnosuke Kakinaga added to the reserves for a possible first cap in five years.
“Scotland have really improved since we played them in the (2019) World Cup (and won 28-21),” said Japan coach Jamie Joseph.
“Their players who were quite young during the World Cup are now senior members and have changed their game a lot. They are very keen to run the ball, that is the way forward.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (c), Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Josh Bayliss, Hamish Watson, Jamie Ritchie, Grant Gilchrist, Scott Cummings, Xander Fegerson, George Turner, Jamie Bhatti. Reserves: Stuart McInly, Pierre Showman, Javan Sebastian, Sam Skinner, Dylan Richardson, Matt Fegerson, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn.
Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Shogo Nakano, Ryoto Nakamura, Seosiya Fifita, Rikiya Matsuda, Yutaka Nagre; Kazuki Himeno, Peter Labuschagne (Captain), Michael Leach, James Moore, Jack Cornelson, Asai Ai Walu, Atsushi Saket, Craig Miller. Reserves: Kosuke Horikoshi, Keita Inagaki, Shinosuke Kakinaga, Ben Gunter, Tavita Tatafu, Naoto Saito, Yu Tamura, Dylan Riley.
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