Brown returns to captain Scotland against Japan

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson has named his team to play Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday in their first Autumn International with Kelly Brown returning to captain the team.

Back-row forward Brown, 31, returns after recovering from the leg injury which cut short his involvement in Scotland’s summer tour to South Africa. It will be his tenth Test as Scotland captain and 59th cap overall.

He is one of six changes in personnel and two further positional switches from Scotland’s last match – the last-gasp 30-29 victory over Italy in the quadrangular tournament in Pretoria in June.

The modifications see Sean Maitland, Nick De Luca (above centre), Ruaridh Jackson, Ryan Grant and Ross Ford join Brown in the starting line-up with David Denton and Alasdair Strokosch listed in their more customary back-row berths.

Two players who made their debuts in the summer, the Glasgow Warriors duo, wing Tommy Seymour and lock Tim Swinson , will make their first starts at Murrayfield, while De Luca returns to the international arena for the first time since last November, having spent the 2013 6 Nations Championship on the side-lines through injury.

Head coach Johnson said that he was mindful of the team’s reputation as being “slow starters” at the outset of campaigns and said, “We are looking to the future and we’re also looking at people’s futures too.

“This selection is a first chance for some to put their hand up. We have a 22-months campaign pre-World Cup and one of the mantras is ‘this could be your last Test match’.

“It’s not a right to play for your country. You have to go out there and perform. It’s important that these guys who have got the jerseys go out and perform.”

Johnson described Japan – who beat Wales during the summer – as a “formidable” team who have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years.

“Saturday is a good chance for the players to show their wares. Japan are well-coached, have a great work ethic and really good knowledge of rugby now,” added Johnson.

Scotland

15 Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors), 14 Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), 13 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby) , 12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby) , 11 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors),10 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) , 9 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby) , 8 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby), 7 Kelly Brown (Saracens) (C), 6 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan) , 5 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) , 4 Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors), 3 Euan Murray (Worcester Warriors), 2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) ,1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors)

Replacements : 16 Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors) , 17 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) , 18 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby), 19 Richie Gray (Castres) , 20 John Barclay (Scarlets), 21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors) , 22 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) , 23 Duncan Taylor (Saracens)

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