Rugby World Cup 2019: Scotland ring changes for must-win clash with Japan

Winger Tommy Seymour.
Winger Tommy Seymour. Photo credit: Image: Getty

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has made a dozen changes to the side for their do-or-die Rugby World Cup Pool A clash against hosts Japan in Yokohama on Sunday.

A largely second-string Scotland ran in nine tries on the way to a 61-0 win over Russia on Wednesday, allowing them to advance to the quarter-final with a win over Japan.

There is still an element of doubt that the match will go ahead due to Typhoon Hagibis, which has already forced the cancellation of Saturday's games between England and France in Yokohama and New Zealand v Italy in Toyota City.

Wingers Darcy Graham and Tommy Seymour have been retained from the starting side that beat Russia, while Fraser Brown, who played openside flanker against the Bears, has shifted back to hooker.

Halfback Greig Laidlaw will lead the team with regular skipper Stuart McInally relegated on the bench.

"Games of this magnitude don't come around very often in a playing career so we will be giving it everything to make sure it is a memorable match," Townsend said.

"It's taken a real squad effort from our players here in Japan to put us in a position to play for a place in the quarter-finals, having risen to the challenge of what's effectively been knockout rugby since the second round of our pool.

Meanwhile, Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson says he will not allow Scotland to become the World Cup's "collateral damage" as he vowed to fight off any moves to cancel Sunday's vital clash.

A decision on whether the game goes ahead will be made on the morning of the game but Dodson told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme the showdown should either be moved to an alternative venue or delayed until after the storm passes.

World Rugby has already said it will not budge on tournament rules which state pool matches can only be played on their scheduled dates.

"My view is that we're not going to let Scotland be the collateral damage for a decision that was taken in haste," Dodson said.

He confirmed the SRU are exploring legal options to ensure the game goes ahead.

Scotland: 1-Allan Dell, 2-Fraser Brown, 3-William Nel, 4-Grant Gilchrist, 5-Jonny Gray, 6-Magnus Bradbury, 7-Jamie Ritchie, 8-Blade Thomson, 9-Greig Laidlaw (c), 10-Finn Russell, 11-Darcy Graham, 12-Sam Johnson, 13-Chris Harris, 14-Tommy Seymour, 15-Stuart Hogg

Reserves: 16-Stuart McInally, 17-Gordon Reid, 18-Zander Fagerson, 19-Scott Cummings, 20-Ryan Wilson, 21-George Horne, 22-Peter Horne, 23-Blair Kinghorn.

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

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The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 11:45pm Saturday for live updates of the Ireland v Samoa Rugby World Cup clash.

AAP

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