Hoyland handed Scotland start against Japan


Damien Hoyland will make his first Scotland start when Vern Cotter's side begin their Test series against Japan at the Toyota City Stadium on Saturday.

Hoyland made his international debut against Italy from the bench last year and the Edinburgh wing will get the chance to make an impact from the start this weekend.

Ruaridh Jackson gets the nod at fly-half in his first appearance for his country in two years alongside captain Greig Laidlaw, while centre Matt Scott replaces the injured Alex Dunbar.

Hooker Stuart McInally makes his second Scotland start in the absence of Ross Ford (calf), with lock Jonny Gray partnering his brother Richie in the second row.

Scotland beat Japan 45-10 in the Rugby World Cup last year and head coach Cotter is looking forward to the challenge of facing them again in their own backyard.

"The players have adapted well to the conditions and the jet lag since arriving in Japan on Sunday, and have prepared well in a testing environment, in the humidity, rain and heat." said Cotter.

"We picked a strong squad to travel to Japan, 23 of whom will get the chance to run out this Saturday in a Test match against a Japanese team on a revenge mission, following our win in the Rugby World Cup.

"They'll have rightly taken a lot of confidence from their recent win over Canada, showing great resilience to finish the game with 14 men. They'll be looking to continue their progress, and will be highly motivated by the prospect of securing a first Test win over Scotland on home soil.

"We have a lot of respect for Japan and their players, and have enjoyed the cultural exchange that comes with a summer tour, however the group have used the time well to focus firmly on our systems and cohesion, as we come together for a full-bloodied Test match this Saturday."

Japan, coached by Mark Hammett until Highlanders boss Jamie Joseph takes over at the end of the Super Rugby season, pulled off a major shock by beating South Africa in the World Cup with Eddie Jones at the helm.

They saw off Canada 26-22 in Vancouver last weekend, so should head into the clash with Scotland with plenty of confidence as they target victory in the two-match series.