Scotland make ten changes for USA clash

Grant Gilchrist wins the ball for Scotland against Japan

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has named his team to play the USA at Elland Road in Leeds and double try scorer Mark Bennett returns to Scotland’s midfield.

Cotter has made 10 changes to the starting line up but also sought continuity by promoting the entire bench from Wednesday’s (45-10 )win over Japan.

In the matchday 23 there are just just four new faces in the 23-man squad; Tim Visser and Alasdair Strokosch who start at wing and back-row respectively, and replacements Tim Swinson (lock) and Duncan Weir (stand-off).

“We said from the start that we’d need the whole group of 31 players for this campaign,” said Cotter of his selections.

“We’ve known this schedule for a long time and have tried to keep continuity in selection, while also introducing fresh legs to what will be another very physical challenge this Sunday.”

Scrum-half Henry Pyrgos – who captained against Ireland and scored twice in the summer Tests – will lead the side as one of four changes to the starting backs.

He comes in to partner try-scoring stand-off Finn Russell, who made his debut against the Eagles in last summer’s 24-6 win in Houston, Texas.

The Glasgow Warriors duo begin a club connection that is continued by the introduction of centre Peter Horne alongside Mark Bennett, who scored twice against Japan.

The changes to the back division are completed by the introduction of Sean Maitland and Visser alongside full-back Stuart Hogg.

In the pack Ryan Grant, Fraser Brown and Jon Welsh make a straight swap for front-row colleagues Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and Willem Nel.

Lock Richie Gray starts in place of brother Jonny – with Swinson taking the vacated place on the bench – and, in the back-row, Strokosch and Josh Strauss come in for Ryan Wilson and David Denton.

Cotter added,”I was pleased with both the commitment and composure against Japan, particularly towards the end of the game, however we are always working and looking for things on which to improve.

“Hopefully we’ll see the result of that this Sunday in another very important Test match in our Pool.”

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg ,14 Sean Maitland , 13 Mark Bennett , 12 Peter Horne , 11 Tim Visser , 10 Finn Russell , 9 Henry Pyrgos (c) , 8 Josh Strauss , 7 John Hardie , 6 Alasdair Strokosch , 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Jon Welsh , 2 Fraser Brown , 1 Ryan Grant

Replacements : 16 Ross Ford , 17 Alasdair Dickinson , 18 Willem Nel, 20 Ryan Wilson , 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Duncan Weir , 23 Matt Scott

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