Vern Cotter has named a strong but slightly different-looking Scotland team to the one that finished the Six Nations in March for the first test in Japan.
The big change is a first start for flyer Damien Hoyland who is rewarded for a strong end to his season at Edinburgh and an impressive cameo in the London Sevens. Matt Scott comes in to partner the now-cemented in Champions Cup and Premiership medal winner Duncan Taylor in the midfield. Ruaridh Jackson fills in for Finn Russell at 10 as expected in his first starts in that shirt since 2013, with Pete Horne offering cover from the bench. There is also a return to the Scotland fold for Sean Maitland who will want to state his case for a starting berth from the replacements.
The other big change is at hooker: Stuart McInally gets a welcome start while Fraser Brown will understudy. Before you get too misty-eyed at the winds of change finally swinging through the Scotland front row, Ross Ford is rested with a calf injury and will have to wait for cap number 100. Nonetheless it represents a big chance for his challengers to show the differences they offer, in both cases a lot more in the loose. McInally’s ball carrying ability may make up for the lack of it in the back row where Ryan Wilson has been picked at 8 ahead of Strauss and Denton, who to be fair are known quantities.
Richie Gray has made it back from France in time to partner brother Jonny in the second row while the flanks see the continuation of the JohnJohn axis Hardie/Barclay, one of the success stories of the Six Nations.
Once again Greig Laidlaw will captain the side at scrum half. Other fixtures of the side like WP Nel, Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg will look to continue where they left off.
Scotland are unbeaten against Japan at test level, however they have also travelled to Japan and lost in uncapped matches. Against a team just one rank below them in World Rugby’s table, it will be no easy match.
Scotland team to play Japan at Toyota City Stadium, Saturday 18 June (kick-off 7.20pm BST, 11.20am BST) – live on BBC:
Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Matt Scott, Damien Hoyland, Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw; Alasdair Dickinson, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, John Hardie, Ryan Wilson
Substitutes: Fraser Brown, Rory Sutherland, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, David Denton, Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne, Sean Maitland
Unavailable through injury: Ross Ford (calf).