SCOTLAND coach Bryan Easson has named an unchanged starting line-up for Friday’s third and final WXV2 match against Japan. But he has made two changes to his bench, bringing back Sarah Bonar and Coreen Grant after they missed the wins against hosts South Africa and the USA because of injury. Second-row forward Bonar replaces Eva Donaldson, while Grant is in for winger Liz Musgrove.
“It’s fantastic to have Sarah Bonar and Coreen Grant available for the match after unfortunately being ruled out of the first two games due to injury,” Easson said. “Sarah was outstanding in our Autumn Test against Spain and Coreen can provide threats in attack and defence so it gives us options for this Friday.”
Japan lost their opening game to Italy – Scotland’s rivals for the title – but recovered to beat Samoa last week. “I’ve been impressed by Japan in the competition,” Easson added. “Despite a tough start against Italy in the opening round but they had a really physical test against Samoa last week and they fronted up well.
“They provide a different threat to South Africa and USA as we are expecting them to attack with width and their kick attack has been impressive as well but we’ve prepared accordingly.”
Scotland will win the six-team tournament if they get more match points against Japan than Italy do against the USA on Saturday, or if they end up on the same number of match points as the Italians but with a better points differential. At present Italy’s points difference is +31 while Scotland’s is +24.
A win against Japan would also see Easson’s side equal the best run of results by the national team since 2001 – the last time the side won six in a row.
Scotland (v Japan at the Athlone Stadium, Cape Town, Friday 1pm): C Rollie; R Lloyd, E Orr, L Thomson, F McGhie; H Nelson, M McDonald; L Bartlett, L Skeldon, C Belisle, E Wassell, L McMillan, R Malcolm (captain), R McLachlan, E Gallagher. Replacements: E Martin, A Young, L Cockburn, S Bonar, J Konkel, C Mattinson, M Smith, C Grant.