Scotland will look to get revenge for Japan's World Cup victory over them


Scotland v Japan Preview – Autumn Internationals

The last time Scotland faced Japan was in the group stage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The hosts progressed to the quarter-finals as they knocked the Scots out of the tournament with a 28-21 win.

Since that disappointment, Gregor Townsend’s side have massively improved. They produced one of their best Six Nations campaigns in 2021, beating England and France. Scotland also beat Australia in the 2021 autumn Internationals.

For Japan, they were unable to build significantly on their World Cup success due to the pandemic. Their first match since the 2019 event came against the British & Irish Lions in June 2021. Jamie Joseph’s team then suffered defeats to Australia and Ireland but they did pick up a win over Portugal last week.

So this Saturday, Scotland are hunting for World Cup revenge and Japan are hunting for their first big win since the event.

You can find out all about the fixture in our Scotland v Japan preview with the team news, coaches’ views and more.

What’s the big Scotland v Japan team news?

Scotland have made seven changes to the side that lost to South Africa last weekend. Hamish Watson is back in the starting team, which sees Jamie Ritchie move back to six and Josh Bayliss at No 8.

Jamie Bhatti and George Turner line up in a almost entirely new front row and Scott Cummings starts at lock. In the backs, Darcy Graham starts on the wing and Sam Johnson is at centre.

Javan Sebastian and Dylan Richardson could win their first caps from the bench.

Scotland v Japan

Hamish Watson returns for Scotland (Getty Images)

Meanwhile Japan have made five changes from their 38-25 win over Portugal last weekend. Captain Pieter Labuschagne returns from injury at flanker, as does lock James Moore. Kazuki Himeno moves to No 8 and Atsushi Sakate comes in at hooker.

Yutaka Nagare and Kotaro Matsushima start at scrum-half and wing respectively with Dylan Riley dropping to the bench.

What have the coaches said?

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend: “We have had a positive week as a squad and want to close out our Autumn Nations Series campaign with an improved performance against a Japan side we expect to challenge us from the outset on Saturday.

“This group of players have another opportunity to represent their country this weekend and show the progress we have made as a group over the past four weeks.

“The Autumn Series has been a great opportunity for us to test the depth of our squad and also build on the performances of our Six Nations campaign.”

Scotland v Japan Preview

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph (Getty Images)

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph: “Scotland have really improved since we last played them at the World Cup. They’ve played a lot of Test matches, with two Six Nations and some very strong performance in the lead-up to this weekend.

“Their players who were quite young during the World Cup are now senior members of their team and they have changed their game a lot. They’re quite keen to run the ball, which is the way forward. We’re expecting a big contest in the loose forwards, where Scotland have shown a lot of improvement.

“Their back row are strong in defence and at the breakdown, and are very good at jackling and slowing the ball down. We’ll have to be very accurate at the breakdown, but we have an experienced back row in Leitch, Lappies and Himeno, so it’s going to be a big part of the match.”

What time does it kick-off and is Scotland v Japan on TV?

The game will kick-off at 1pm on Saturday 20 November at BT Murrayfield.

Referee Brendon Pickerill, assistants Paul Williams and Andrea Piardi, and TMO Stuart Berry will officiate the match.

The fixture will be shown on Amazon Prime Video.

Related: Autumn Nations Series TV coverage

What are the line-ups?

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain); Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Josh Bayliss.

Replacements: Stuart McInally, Pierre Schoeman, Javan Sebastian, Sam Skinner, Dylan Richardson, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn.

Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka; Kotaro Matsushima, Shogo Nakano, Ryoto Nakamura, Siosaia Fifita; Rikiya Matsuda, Yutaka Nagare; Craig Millar, Atsushi Sakate, Asaeli Ai Valu, Jack Cornelsen, James Moore, Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagné (captain), Kazuki Himeno.

Replacements: Kosuke Horikoshi, Keita Inagaki, Shinnosuke Kakinaga, Ben Gunter, Tevita Tatafu, Naoto Saito, Yu Tamura, Dylan Riley.

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