Scotland make mass changes for crucial pool decider against Ireland

Jared Wright
Scotland's Darcy Graham, right, celebrates with teammate Blair Kinghorn after marking a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between Scotland and Tonga

Scotland's Darcy Graham and Blair Kinghorn during the Rugby World Cup.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made 12 changes to his starting XV for the crunch Rugby World Cup Pool B clash against Ireland.

Townsend has made seven changes to his pack from the side that defeated Romania 84-0 with a further five in the backline.

The Scots are within a chance of making the competition’s quarter-finals but will need to upset Ireland, who have won their last 16 Test matches in a row.

12 changes

In the backs, Blair Kinghorn returns at full-back to earn his 50th Scotland cap. He starts in the back three with Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham, the latter one of two backline players retaining their position from the win over Romania.

Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones return as the starting centres, with Cameron Redpath and Chris Harris dropping out of the matchday 23 entirely.

Scrum-half Ali Price is the other backline player to retain his starting position and is joined in the half-backs by number 10 Finn Russell.

The loose trio of Jamie Ritchie (blindside), Rory Darge (openside) and Jack Dempsey (number eight) is reinstated, with Ritchie skippering the side. Matt Fagerson and Luke Crosbie both drop to the bench.

Grant Gilchrist is the only forward that starts once again, having played against Romania and is joined in the second-row by Richie Gray.

The three changes in the front-row sees props Pierre Schoeman and Zander Fagerson pack down either side of hooker George Turner.

Townsend has opted for a 6-2 split on the bench in favour of the forwards.

George Horne and Ollie Smith will cover the backs, with Ewan Ashman, Rory Sutherland, and WP Nel as the front-row replacements.

Lock Scott Cummings and loose forwards Fagerson and Crosbie adding further back-five cover.

Scotland team to face Ireland

Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Jamie Ritchie (c), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman,17 Rory Sutherland, 18 WP Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Luke Crosbie, 22 George Horne, 23 Ollie Smith

Date: Saturday, October 7
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 21:00 local (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)

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