Scotland drop captain McInally for typhoon-threatened Japan game

Stuart McInally starts on the bench against Japan
Rugby World Cup Pool A: Japan v Scotland
Venue: International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama Date: Sun, 13 October Kick-off: 11:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland, Radio Five Live, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Scotland captain Stuart McInally has been omitted for Sunday’s crucial but under-threat World Cup Pool A decider against Japan in Yokohama.

His place at hooker is taken by Fraser Brown, who started in the back row for the win over Russia.

Wings Darcy Graham and Tommy Seymour are the only two other survivors from that much-changed side.

Seymour – replacing the injured Sean Maitland – and Brown are the only ones who did not start against Samoa.

Scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will captain the side, with McInally on the bench.

Sunday’s game remains under threat because of Typhoon Hagibis, which is expected to hit Japan on Saturday.

Two Saturday games have already been cancelled, and declared as draws, but World Rugby hopes the worst of the storm will have eased by Sunday and will make a decision on the morning of the game about whether it goes ahead.

If the game is cancelled and declared a draw, Scotland could exit the tournament.

Scotland sit third in their group and, should Ireland defeat Samoa, must beat the hosts – and take four more points than them – to progress to the quarter-finals.

Townsend praised his side for the way they have responded after their opening defeat by Ireland.

“It’s taken a real squad effort from our players here in Japan to put us in a position to play for a place in the quarter-finals,” he said.

“The entire group has featured in our past two Tests, both of which have been clinical and professional performances.

“A few players have pushed hard for selection with the form they’ve shown in training and in the last two games and it’s now down to this group of 23 men to build on this momentum and squad togetherness to deliver a winning performance against Japan.”

Scotland: Hogg; Seymour, Harris, Johnson, Graham, Russell, Laidlaw; Dell, Brown, Nel, Gilchrist, Gray, Bradbury, Ritchie, Thomson.

Replacements: McInally, Reid, Fagerson, Cummings, Wilson, G Horne, P Horne, Kinghorn.

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