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Townsend names five changes in Scotland side to face Samoa

The Scotland head coach has made changes to the side that lost heavily to Ireland.

Towsend: Five changes to face Samoa.
Towsend: Five changes to face Samoa. SNS

The head coach of Scotland has made five changes for Monday's game against Samoa.

Gregor Townsend makes the changes to the team that lost heavily to Ireland in their World Cup opener last week.

Two of the changes come in the backline where Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham and Gloucester centre Chris Harris - try scorers against Georgia and France in respective Summer Tests - start in place of Tommy Seymour and Duncan Taylor.

Graham will combine with full-back Stuart Hogg and Saracens wing Sean Maitland in the back-three, with Glasgow Warriors centre Sam Johnson returning to partner Harris in midfield.

Half-backs Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell start together for the 35th time, equalling the national team record of legendary pairing of John Rutherford and Greig's uncle Roy Laidlaw.

A new back-row trio makes up the three remaining changes in the pack.

Fit-again Jamie Ritchie starts in place of the injured Hamish Watson, with Watson's wider squad replacement Magnus Bradbury operating on the blindside, and Scarlets Blade Thomson at number 8.

The forwards are completed by a returning tight-five of loosehead prop Allan Dell, hooker and captain Stuart McInally and tighthead prop Willem Nell, with Grant Gilchrist and Jonny Gray back at lock.

The Scots, who take on Samoa at the Kobe Misaki stadium for their second game, have won nine out of 11 tests against the Oceanic nation.

And Townsend will be looking for another victory to help them bounce back from the 27-3 defeat to the top-ranked Irish side.

Scotland Head Coach, Gregor 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 to 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.

"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."

Scotland team to play Samoa at the Kobe Misaki Stadium.

15. Stuart Hogg VICE CAPTAIN (Exeter Chiefs) - 70 caps 14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) - 8 caps

13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) - 11 caps

12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) - 7 caps

11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) - 43 caps 10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) - 47 caps 9. Greig Laidlaw VICE CAPTAIN (Clermont Auvergne) - 74 caps 1. Allan Dell (London Irish) - 26 caps

2. Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) - 30 caps

3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) - 32 caps

4. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) - 37 caps

5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) - 53 caps

6. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) - 8 caps

7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) - 12 caps

8. Blade Thomson (Scarlets) - 3 caps

Substitutes:

16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) - 43 caps

17. Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) - 38 caps

18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) - 22 caps

19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) - 5 caps

20. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) - 46 caps

21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) - 7 caps

22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) - 14 caps

23. Duncan Taylor (Saracens) - 24 caps

The game will be live on STV on Monday.

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