Scotland make nine changes for Ireland encounter

Gregor Townsend has named experienced side
Gregor Townsend has named experienced side

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made 10 changes to the starting line-up for the opening round of the Rugby World Cup against Ireland to be played in Yokohama this weekend.

Exeter's Stuart Hogg has been slotted at fullback and will form back three partnership along with Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland. Duncan Taylor and Sam Johnson start at centres with Finn Russell at fly-half and Greig Laidlaw at scrum-half.

Ryan Wilson takes the number eight position with Hamish Watson and John Barclay at flankers and Jonny Gray alongside Grant Gilchrist at second row.

Allan Dell starts at loosehead prop with Willem Nel at tighthead while skipper Stuart McInally is the preferred hooker.

“We’ve had a really productive week’s preparation in Nagasaki ahead of our arrival in Tokyo, with our players adapting to the time zone and weather conditions out here in Japan,” said Townsend.

“As we’ve got closer to the game our training has been more about fine-tuning the hard work that’s gone in over pre-season into a focus for Sunday’s game.

“Our team has a lot of experience playing together in major games for Scotland, with a bench capable of making a difference when required.

"That cohesion, experience and leadership is very valuable in a build-up to a match of this magnitude as well as during the 80 minutes on Sunday.”

Scotland XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Allan Dell

Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Darcy Graham