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Scotland are in a must-win position when they take on Russia if they are to have any chance of progressing past the group stage of the Rugby World Cup. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 6:15pm (AEDT).
Both Japan and Ireland lead Scotland in their pool, and Ireland have a very winnable matchup against Samoa, so you’d expect the Irish to go through.
Ideally, Gregor Townsend’s men now need to win this game with a bonus point, and follow it up with another when they play the Brave Blossoms, while ensuring the latter miss out on a losing bonus point in their final pool match
If not, points differential would come into play. Jamie Joseph’s team lead the Scottish by 36 in that regard, meaning that they need to win tonight by a big margin.
And that doesn’t seem unlikely. Russia have conceded 30, 34 and 35 in their outings so far, while racking up a combined total of 19 points.
Scotland have made a number of changes. Flyhalf Finn Russell is rested for this game, with Adam Hastings taking his place. He’ll be partnered in the halves by George Horne. Those are two of 14 changes, the only player who remains in the starting side from the Samoa game is winger Darcy Graham.
Keep an eye on Vladimir Ostroushko, who comes back into the starting team. If Russia are to compete, you’d expect him to play a role.
There are eight more changes for the Russians, who will be captained by Vasily Artemyev at fullback.
Scotland will win. But the quarterfinals situation puts a lot more pressure on them. They should run away with it in the last 20.
Scotland by 35.
Blair Kinghorn; Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Pete Horne, Darcy Graham; Adam Hastings, George Horne; Gordon Reid, George Turner, Zander Fagerson; Scott Cummings, Ben Toolis; John Barclay, Fraser Brown, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Siomn Berghan, WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Henry Pyrgos, Chris Harris.
Vasily Artemyev; German Davydov, Vladimir Ostroushko, Dmitry Gerasimov, Vladislav Sozonov; Ramil Gaisin, Dmitry Perov; Valery Morozov, Stanislav Selskii, Kirill Gotovtsev; Andrey Ostrikov, Evgeny Elgin; Vitaly Zhivatov, Tagir Gadzhiev, Nikita Vavilin.
Replacements: Sergey Chernyshev, Azamat Bitiev, Vladimir Podrezov, Bogdan Fedotko, Andrey Garbuzov, Sergey Ianiushkin, Anton Sychev, Yury Kushnarev