Japan v Scotland: Damien Hoyland handed first start on the wing

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland in Japan
Damien Hoyland
Hoyland made his Scotland debut in the World Cup warm-up match against Italy in Turin
Japan v Scotland
Venue: Toyota City Stadium, Toyota Date: Saturday 18 June Kick-off: 11:20 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Scotland, the BBC Sport website and app.

Damien Hoyland, the 22-year-old Edinburgh wing, will start his first Test match for Scotland when they face Japan in Toyota City on Saturday.

There are five changes from the side that finished the Six Nations against Ireland in Dublin, with Hoyland replacing the absent Tim Visser.

Matt Scott is in for the injured Alex Dunbar and Ruaridh Jackson starts at fly-half.

In the pack, Stuart McInally takes over at hooker in place of Ross Ford.

A tight calf denies the veteran the chance to win his 100th cap at the weekend.

Ford is a doubt to make the second Test in Tokyo a week on Saturday as well. The final change is Jonny Gray returning at second row for Tim Swinson.

'The best feeling I've had in my life'

Hoyland's inclusion comes on the back of a stellar season with Edinburgh.

The wing has only played in one Test match, 18 minutes off the bench against Italy in Turin last August, but he makes Vern Cotter's team ahead of Sean Maitland, who is on the bench, and Sean Lamont who has not made the matchday squad.

"I can't believe it," said Hoyland, who featured in Scotland's dramatic victory in the London Sevens last month when they won a first World Sevens Series title.

"It's still very, very surreal. The Sevens, when it happened, was the best feeling I had in my life and I couldn't have imagined anything better, but this has to top it."

From the team base in Toyota City, Cotter spoke of Hoyland's "enthusiasm lifting the team and dragging us along".

Stuart McInally
Stuart McInally will make his second start for Scotland when they face Japan on Saturday

"He's still got a lot to work on but he's got good feet, scores tries and he'll provide line breaks and give us go-forward," Cotter added.

The 16-12 victory over Italy last August saw Hoyland making his international debut, but it was also McInally's Scotland debut - his only start in seven appearances.

Jackson has not started a Test match at stand-off since the 28-0 loss to South Africa in November 2013, but he makes it in the absence of Finn Russell and Duncan Weir.

'They have players that can hurt you'

The weather on Saturday evening, local time, is expected to be hot and sticky, just the conditions that Japan revel in.

Japan are missing a host of senior players from their seismic World Cup victory over the Springboks, but Cotter spoke of their improving depth and their desire to bring a fast and furious dimension to the Test.

Cotter expects 'tough test' from Japan

"They play with confidence - and so they should because they had a really good World Cup and they've just beaten Canada in Canada," Cotter said.

"They play a fast, quick-ruck game. It's hard to get the ball off them because they're very quick to the breakdown, very fast and very mobile. They have players who can hurt you if you're not wary."

Cotter mentioned how difficult it is to stop "the Japanese machine going forward". The Scotland coach has now named the 23 he is entrusting with that job.

Scotland team to face Japan

Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Matt Scott, Damien Hoyland, Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw; Alasdair Dickinson, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, John Hardie, Ryan Wilson.


Fraser Brown, Rory Sutherland, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, David Denton, Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne, Sean Maitland.

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