Rugby World Cup: Scotland team to face Romania revealed as 13 changes made and new captain

Ben Healy has been given a start at stand-off for Scotland against Romania. (Photo: Cameron Spencer)
Ben Healy has been given a start at stand-off for Scotland against Romania. (Photo: Cameron Spencer)

Established players Finn Russell, Duhan van der Merwe, Jack Dempsey and Richie Gray will play no part in the Pool B match at Stade Pierre-Mauroy as head coach Gregor Townsend takes the opportunity to use squad men who have yet to feature at the tournament as Scotland seek the bonus point win to keep their qualification hopes alive.

There are 13 changes in total from the team that defeated Tonga last Sunday and first appearances at this World Cup for stand-off Ben Healy, prop Javan Sebastian and flankers Hamish Watson and Luke Crosbie. Hooker Johnny Matthews, who joined the squad this week after Stuart McInally was forced to pull out with a neck injury, is on the bench and in line to make his Scotland debut.
It’s an all-new pack, with loosehead Jamie Bhatti and hooker Ewan Ashman joining Sebastian in the front row. Behind them are locks Gilchrist and Sam Skinner. The back row is Crosbie, Watson and Matt Fagerson.

In the backs, Ollie Smith takes over from Blair Kinghorn at full-back, and the wings are Darcy Graham and Kyle Steyn. Cam Redpath and Chris Harris form the centre pairing, and Ali Price comes in at scrum-half to partner Healy. Only Steyn and Harris retain their places in the starting XV from the Tonga game.

Joining Matthews on the bench are experienced props Rory Sutherland and WP Nel, lock Scott Cummings, flanker Rory Darge, scrum-half George Horne, Kinghorn and centre Huw Jones.
Scotland’s most likely route to the quarter-finals is to beat Romania with a bonus point and then defeat Ireland in Paris on October 7 and deny them a bonus point in the process.

Scotland team (v Romania, Rugby World Cup Pool B, Saturday 30 September, 8pm BST, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille. TV: live on ITV. Referee: Wayne Barnes)
15. Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby) 37 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) - vice-captain - 45 caps
12. Cameron Redpath (Bath) 8 caps
11. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 14 caps
10. Ben Healy (Edinburgh) 3 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) 64 caps
1. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) 33 caps
2. Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh) 10 caps
3. Javan Sebastian (Edinburgh) 6 caps
4. Sam Skinner (Edinburgh) 29 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) - captain - 66 caps
6. Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh) 5 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh ) - vice-captain - 58 caps
8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) 38 caps
16. Johnny Matthews (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
17. Rory Sutherland (unattached) 27 caps
18. WP Nel (Edinburgh) 59 caps
19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) 31 caps
20. Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors) 13 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 24 caps
22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) 48 cap
23. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 41 caps