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Graham wings in for Scotland as Townsend takes five

Graham wings in for Scotland as Townsend takes five

Gregor Townsend has made five changes including handing Darcy Graham his first World Cup start as Scotland look to get their campaign back on track on Monday against Samoa in Kobe.

“We’ll need to be much better on Monday night against such a dangerous opponent.”

There is an all-new back row with Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie and Blade Thomson combining while in the back line Graham and Chris Harris are both selected.

Graham comes onto the wing in place of Tommy Seymour, and joins Stuart Hogg and Sean Maitland in the back three while Harris take the No.13 jersey from Duncan Taylor who drops to the bench.

Sam Johnson, Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw remain in situ as the playmaking axis while up front Stuart McInally captains in the front row with Allan Dell and WP Nel either side.

Jonny Gray and Grant Gilchrist combine in the second row again but the new-look back row will be aiming to lead a response from their opening Ireland defeat.

Townsend said: “Samoa are a team capable of scoring points from anywhere on the field. They play an ambitious brand of rugby and their team is full of skilful and powerful players.

“We had worked hard in our build-up this tournament to deliver our best rugby but we were well below this level in our opening game against Ireland. We’ll need to be much better on Monday night against such a dangerous opponent.”

He added: “It’s been a long week building towards a game where we intend to put a lot of things right.

“The players have responded well in training, know what is required of them and are hungry to deliver the kind of performance that keeps us in the World Cup.

“The reality is we now have to win our next three games to make it out of our pool, so the knockout stages for us begin this Monday night.”

On the bench, Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid and Zander Fagerson cover the front row while Scott Cummings and Ryan Wilson are the other forward replacements. George Horne, Adam Hastings and Taylor cover the backs.

Scotland team to face Samoa:

15. Stuart Hogg
14. Darcy Graham
13. Chris Harris
12. Sam Johnson
11. Sean Maitland
10. Finn Russell
9. Greig Laidlaw

1. Allan Dell
2. Stuart McInally (c)
3. Willem Nel
4. Grant Gilchrist
5. Jonny Gray
6. Magnus Bradbury
7. Jamie Ritchie
8. Blade Thomson

Replacements:
16. Fraser Brown
17. Gordon Reid
18. Zander Fagerson
19. Scott Cummings
20. Ryan Wilson
21. George Horne
22. Adam Hastings
23. Duncan Taylor

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