Scotland reshuffle backs and pack for Japan match

Four personnel changes from team that began loss to Wales

Hannah Smith
Hannah Smith is back in the Scotland line-up to face Japan on Sunday. Image: © Craig Watson.

SCOTLAND coach Philip Doyle has made four personnel changes to his starting line-up for Sunday’s match against Japan, the team’s second and final Autumn Test following last week’s 17-3 defeat by Wales. Doyle has also been forced into reshuffles up front and in the back division as a result of injuries sustained in the first Scotstoun match.

Hannah Smith returns at outside centre after missing out last week because of injury, and indirectly replaces Lisa Martin, with Helen Nelson moving to stand-off and Lisa Thomson switching from 13 to 12. In the other change to the backs, Jenny Maxwell  is rewarded for her high-energy performance off the bench by getting a start at scrum-half instead of Mhairi Grieve.

The two new players in the pack are Lisa Cockburn, who takes over at loosehead prop from the injured Megan Kennedy, and Rachel McLachlan, who comes in at openside as part of a back-row reshuffle. Louise McMillan moves to blindside to accommodate McLachlan, while captain Rachel Malcolm, who was at 6 last week, moves up to her other position of hooker, taking over from Jodie Rettie.

On the bench, front-row forwards Izzy Drexler and Anne Young are both in line to make their debuts. Backs Sarah Denholm and Evie Tonkin, who both won their first caps as substitutes last week, are again included in the 23.

“We’re all really looking forward to playing Japan on Sunday,” Doyle said. “They are an exciting team and it is great to be able to develop the relationship between the two unions even further.

“We’ve suffered a few injuries since last week so have brought in a couple of players to the squad. Anne Young came to South Africa with us, so it’s a good opportunity to bring her back into the squad. Issy Drexler is new to the squad and I’m keen to see how she works alongside some of her Watsonians teammates if she makes it onto the field this weekend.”

Scotland (v Japan at Scotstoun, Sunday, 1pm): C Rollie (Harlequins); R Lloyd (Loughborough Lightning), H Smith (Watsonians), L Thomson (Darlington Mowden Park), M Gaffney (Watsonians); H Nelson (Loughborough Lightning), J Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning); Lisa Cockburn (Darlington Mowden Park), R Malcolm (captain, Loughborough Lightning), M Forsyth (Corstorphine Cougars), E Wassell (Corstorphine Cougars), S Bonar (Loughborough Lightning), L McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill), R McLachlan (Darlington Mowden Park), J Konkel (Harlequins). Substitutes: I Drexler (Watsonians), P Muzambe (Edinburgh University/Watsonians), A Young (Edinburgh University), C Belisle (Cartha Queen’s Park), E Tonkin (Darlington Mowden Park), M Grieve (Firwood Waterloo), S Denholm (Edinburgh University), A Evans (Darlington Mowden Park).



About Stuart Bathgate 1438 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.