Josh Bayliss is one of seven changes made by Gregor Townsend for Scotland clash with Japan; Glasgow prop Jamie Bhatti to make first international start since August 2019; captain Stuart Hogg set to become Scotland’s fourth all-time appearance maker
Last Updated: 18/11/21 4:34pm
Bath back-row Josh Bayliss will make his first start for Scotland at No 8 in their final Autumn Nations Series Test against Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Bayliss, 24, made his debut as a replacement in the victory against Australia earlier this month and is one of seven changes made by Gregor Townsend from the team the started last weekend’s 30-15 defeat by South Africa.
British and Irish Lion Hamish Watson returns to the XV at openside flanker and Glasgow Warriors lock Scott Cummings is back from injury for his first appearance of the autumn series.
Winger Darcy Graham, centre Sam Johnson and hooker George Turner, who is back after recovering from a rib injury he suffered against the Wallabies, also start as the Scots bid to close out the calendar year with a victory.
Glasgow prop Jamie Bhatti will make his first international start since the warm-up match against France prior to the 2019 World Cup.
Captain Stuart Hogg is set to become Scotland’s fourth all-time appearance maker with his 88th cap after being named to start at full-back.
Scarlets prop Javan Sebastian and Sharks back-row forward Dylan Richardson could make their debuts after both were named among the replacements for the first time.
Scotland lost their last meeting with Japan 28-21 in the pool stage at the 2019 World Cup.
Head coach Townsend says he has had to balance giving game time to as many of his squad as possible, with preparing his team towards the Six Nations in February.
“We’ve got one eye on the next tournament, which comes round very quickly,” he said.
“We’re playing England at home, which is a very big challenge for us, so it is important that players that are currently in the mix to play in that game get an opportunity to build on the momentum from last year’s Six Nations and throughout the autumn.”
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Josh Bayliss, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Matt Fagerson, 22 George Horne, 23 Blair Kinghorn.