Head Coach Vern Cotter has sought continuity in the rotated Scotland squad named for this Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Round 2 Test against the USA Eagles at Elland Road, Leeds (27 September, kick-off 15:30 SA Time, 14:30 BST, 13:30 GMT).
The entire bench from Wednesday’s win over Japan (45 / 10) has been promoted into the starting line-up meaning that despite making 10 changes to the starting 15 there are just 4 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 (flyhalf).
Cotter said: “We said from the start that we’d need the whole group of 31 players for this campaign. 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.”
Scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos – who captained against Ireland and scored twice in the summer Tests – will lead the side as 1 of 4 changes to the starting backs.
He comes in to partner try-scoring flyhalf 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 fullback 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 WP Nel.
Lock Richie Gray starts in place of brother Jonny – with Swinson taking the vacated place on the bench – and in the loose forwards, 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 (Captain), 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ryan Wilson, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant
Replacements: 16 Kevin Bryce, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 WP Nel, 20 Fraser Brown, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Matt Scott.