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Strauss to make first Scotland start as Cotter rotates

Josh Strauss will make his first Test start for Scotland after head coach Vern Cotter made 10 changes to his side for Sunday's Rugby World Cup encounter against United States.

Scotland began their Pool B campaign with a comprehensive 45-10 victory over Japan on Wednesday and, with just four days separating the fixtures, Cotter has decided to utilise the depth of his squad - although there are just four new faces in the 23-man selection.

All seven of the replacements against Japan are promoted to the starting XV and one of those changes includes bringing in South Africa-born Strauss for his maiden start at number eight - the Glasgow Warriors star made his debut off the bench last time out after recently meeting eligibility criteria.

Scrum-half Henry Pyrgos is one of four changes to Scotland's backs and he will assume the role of captain for the encounter at Elland Road.

Richie Gray returns at second-row in place of brother Jonny, and Cotter is hoping that Scotland can have plenty of continuity despite the changes.

"We said from the start that we'd need the whole group of 31 players for this campaign," he said.

"We've known this schedule for a long time and have tried to keep continuity in selection, while also introducing fresh legs to what will be another very physical challenge this Sunday.

"I was pleased with both the commitment and composure against Japan, particularly towards the end of the game, however we are always working and looking for things on which to improve.

"Hopefully we'll see the result of that this Sunday in another very important Test match in our pool."

 

Team in full: Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne, Tim Visser, Finn Russell , Henry Pyrgos; Ryan Grant, Fraser Brown, Jon Welsh, Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Alasdair Strokosch, John Hardie, Josh Strauss.

Replacements: Ross Ford, Alasdair Dickinson, Willem Nel, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Greig Laidlaw,  Duncan Weir, Matt Scott.