Mark Bennett
Centre Mark Bennett scored two tries in the victory over Japan and retains his place for Scotland's next match against USA AFP

Fresh from halting Japan's momentum with a convincing victory at Kingsholm, Scotland are back in Pool B action as they travel north to Elland Road to face a USA team who have had the benefit of two extra rest days since their 25-16 defeat to Samoa.

Where to watch

Scotland vs USA kicks off at 2.30pm BST on Sunday 27 September. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio 5 Live.


Scotland were cast in the slightly unfamiliar role of party poopers in their World Cup opener, stopping the neutrals' favourite and Springbok slayers Japan in their tracks with a ruthless display of second-half finishing that fully exploited the loss of influential Blossoms number eight Amanaki Mafi to a knee injury. John Hardie, Mark Bennett, Tommy Seymour and Finn Russell all crossed the line in a 45-10 rout that was close until half-time. Captain Greig Laidlaw also kicked four penalties on his home ground.

It comes as little surprise to learn that Vern Cotter has decided to rest a number of key players for their next test and opts for 10 changes in all. In a show of faith to his replacements, every member of the bench against Japan will start in Yorkshire and Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Henry Pyrgos deputises as skipper. Stuart Hogg, Bennett, fly-half Russell, Hardie and lock Grant Gilchrist are the only members of the initial XV that are retained.

As for the USA, their opening performance in Brighton was plagued by repeated ill-discipline and issues at the set-piece – key problems head coach Mike Tolkin knows must be remedied if his team are to stand any chance of further shaking the foundations of Pool B with another sizeable upset.

The Eagles' team selection for Scotland shows just one change, with Phil Thiel handed a start at hooker as Zach Fenoglio of the Glendale Raptors is dropped to the bench. Fans of Aviva Premiership rugby will instantly recognise American captain Chris Wyles, who has been with Saracens since 2008, and California-born Northampton powerhouse Samu Manoa.

Chris Wyles
USA captain Chris Wyles plays his club rugby in the Aviva Premiership for Saracens (Getty)


Scotland: 15. Hogg, 14. Maitland, 13. Bennett, 12. Horne, 11. Visser, 10. Russell, 9. Pyrgos (c), 8. Strauss, 7. Hardie, 6. Strokosch, 5. Gilchrist, 4. R Gray, 3. Welsh, 2. Brown. 1. Grant

Replacements: 16. Ford, 17. Dickinson, 18. Nel, 19. Swinson, 20. Wilson, 21. Laidlaw, 22. Weir, 23. Scott

USA: 15. Wyles (c), 14. Ngwenya, 13. Kelly, 12. Palamo, 11. Scully, 10. MacGinty, 9. Petri, 8. Manoa, 7. Durutalo, 6. McFarland, 5. Peterson, 4. Smith, 3. Lamositele, 2. Thiel, 1. Fry

Replacements: 16. Fenoglio, 17. Kilifi, 18. Baumann, 19. Dolan, 20. Quill, 21. Barrett, 22. Suniula, 23. Niua

What the coaches say

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

Mike Tolkin: "The scrum was once again a good platform of attack and the lineout had a few hiccups, which was unfortunate as it cost us on four occasions. Fenoglio's logged a lot of minutes as starter and Thiel is a little fresher. They are both very good and virtually even, so we thought this was a good time to get Phil in as a starter and have Zach add punch off the bench.

"We have the capability to do some dynamic things with ball in hand, with both power and pace. We'd like to be able to make this a more consistent, potent weapon. Scotland, like everyone, has weaknesses and we need to exploit them effectively with both of those tools."

Vern Cotter
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter is expecting a stern physical test from the USA in Yorkshire (Getty)

Other fixtures

Scotland v USA takes place after Australia's meeting with Uruguay on 27 September and is immediately followed by Ireland's Pool D match against Romania at Wembley.