Scotland hand start to Hoyland

Date published: June 16 2016

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Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has made five personnel changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s Test against Japan in Tokyo.

Among them is young Edinburgh wing Damien Hoyland (22), who is set for his first Scotland start, having waited patiently since his debut as a replacement against Italy this time last year.

The former Boroughmuir flyer – who helped Scotland Sevens lift the Cup at the London Sevens at Twickenham last month – has scored eight tries in an impressive season for the capital club, and joins regular back-three instalments Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour.

Harlequins-bound Ruaridh Jackson will start at fly-half – alongside captain Greig Laidlaw – for the first time since a replacement appearance against Canada in 2014.

Jackson’s last international start at pivot was back in 2013, the third of three consecutive starts in the role, the second of which was a 42-17 win over this weekend’s opponents at BT Murrayfield.

Centre Matt Scott steps in for the injured Alex Dunbar to complete the changes to the backs, having recovered from the quad injury that ended his 2016 6 Nations campaign in the opening game against England.

He partners English Premiership and European Cup double-winning outside-centre, Duncan Taylor, who has kept his place in Scotland’s midfield since coming in for Scott with aplomb in the subsequent Six Nations games.

In the pack, hooker Stuart McInally will earn his second start in eight caps for his country, maintaining the national team’s all-Edinburgh Rugby front-row in spite of the injury absence of Ross Ford (calf), whose Scotland cap-centurion champagne remains on ice.

Lock Jonny Gray missed the Six Nations’ finale with a partial pectoral tear but has long since recovered to form a starting second-row partnership with brother Richie for a fifteenth time.

“The players have adapted well to the conditions and the jet lag since arriving in Japan on Sunday, and have prepared well in a testing environment, in the humidity, rain and heat,” said Scotland head coach Vern Cotter.

“We picked a strong squad to travel to Japan, 23 of whom will get the chance to run out this Saturday in a Test match against a Japanese team on a revenge mission, following our win in the Rugby World Cup.

“They’ll have rightly taken a lot of confidence from their recent win over Canada, showing great resilience to finish the game with 14 men. They’ll be looking to continue their progress, and will be highly motivated by the prospect of securing a first Test win over Scotland on home soil.

“We have a lot of respect for Japan and their players, and have enjoyed the cultural exchange that comes with a summer tour, however the group have used the time well to focus firmly on our systems and cohesion, as we come together for a full-bloodied Test match this Saturday.”

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Sean Maitland

Date: Saturday, June 18
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 19:20 local (10:20 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), Brendan Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

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