Scotland meets Samoa in a Pool A match at Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City on September 30. Kickoff is at 19:15 local (06:15 ET). The match may be viewed in the U.S. on NBC Sports Gold on-demand as part of an RWC subscription package.
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend’s side faces an uphill battle as they meet Samoa. “We know if we don’t win all the next three games we won’t make the quarter-finals,” said the former Scotland and British & Irish Lions fly-half. Only two teams have previously reached the quarter-finals after losing two pool matches, Fiji in 1987 and France, who progressed to the final, in 2011.
With Japan’s victory over Ireland, Scotland will probably need to win all three games with a bonus point, as well as denying Japan a losing bonus point, if Japan gets a bonus-point win over Samoa. This could leave the match between Scotland and Samoa as a battle for third place and automatic qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
Scotland has made five changes in their starters from their opening match against Ireland. Gregor Townsend has eliminated 190 caps of experience in dropping John Barclay, Tommy Seymour from the side with Ryan Wilson and Duncan Taylor moving to the reserves. Flanker Hamish Watson was lost to a tournament-ending injury.
Scotland has a completely new back-row. Magnus Bradbury and Blade Thomson take over from Barclay and Wilson at blindside flanker and No.8 respectively, while Jamie Ritchie starts at openside in place of Watson.
The backs have Darcy Graham on the right-wing in place of Seymour, while Chris Harris starts at outside-center in place of Taylor, who drops to the reserves.
Samoa Head Coach Steve Jackson lost No.8 Afaesetiti Amosa for the tournament with a knee injury, while hooker Motu Matu’u and center Rey Lee-Lo were banned for their three remaining pool matches for high tackles in their opening match.
Captain Jack Lam returns from injury to start at number eight, Ray Niuia comes in at hooker, and Belgium Tuatagaloa starts at right-wing with Alapati Leiua, moving to outside-center. Melani Matavao takes over at scrum-half from Dwayne Polataivao.
Scotland: 1. Allan Dell 2. Stuart McInally (capt.) 3. Willem Nel 4. Grant Gilchrist 5. Jonny Gray 6. Magnus Bradbury 7. Jamie Richie 8. Blade Thomson 9. Greig Laidlaw 10. Finn Russell 11. Sean Maitland 12. Sam Johnson 13. Chris Harris 14. Darcy Graham 15. Stuart Hogg 16. Fraser Brown 17. Gordon Reid 18. Zander Fagerson 19. Scott Cummings 20. Ryan Wilson 21. George Harris 22. Adam Hastings 23. Duncan Taylor
Samoa: 1 Logovi Mulipola 2 Ray Niuia 3 Mike Alaalatoa 4 Filo Paulo 5 Kane Le’aupepe 6 Chris Vui 7 TJ Ioane 8 Jack Lam (capt.) 9 Melani Matavao 10 Tusi Pisi 11 Ed Fidow 12 Henry Taefu 13 Alapati Leiua 14 Belgium Tuatagaloa 15 Tim Nanai-Williams 16 Seilala Lam 17 Paul Alo-Emile 18 Jordan Lay 19 Piula Faasalele 20 Josh Tyrell 21 Pete Cowley 22 Ulupano Seuteni 23 Kieron Fonotia