Gregor Townsend makes sweeping changes to Scotland side for Romania clash

Ben Healy during Scotland training session at 2023 Rugby World Cup Ben Healy will start at fly-half for Scotland against Romania (David Davies/PA)

New Edinburgh prop Javan Sebastian will start for Scotland for the first time in Saturday’s must-win match against World Cup Pool B minnows Romania in Lille after Gregor Townsend made 13 changes to his XV.

Backs Chris Harris and Kyle Steyn are the only two players to have retained their places in the side from last Sunday’s win over Tonga.

Stand-off Ben Healy plus back-rowers Hamish Watson and Luke Crosbie join 29-year-old Sebastian – who has won all of his six caps as a substitute – in coming in for their first appearances of the tournament.

Lock Grant Gilchrist will take over the captaincy in the absence of Edinburgh colleague Jamie Ritchie, who is undergoing concussion protocols.

Uncapped Glasgow hooker Johnny Matthews – called up last weekend – will have the chance to make his debut off the bench.

Key men like Finn Russell, Duhan van der Merwe, Richie Gray, Jack Dempsey and Zander Fagerson have been left out of the 23 ahead of the following weekend’s showdown with Ireland, while established starters Blair Kinghorn, Huw Jones and Rory Darge will be on the bench.

Scotland must defeat Romania with a bonus point to ensure they have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals going into the Ireland match in Paris.

Scotland team to face Romania at Rugby World Cup

Forwards: 1 Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), 2 Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh Rugby), 3 Javan Sebastian (Edinburgh Rugby), 4 Sam Skinner (Edinburgh Rugby), 5 Grant Gilchrist (CAPTAIN, Edinburgh Rugby), 6 Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh Rugby), 7 Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby), 8 Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors)

Backs: 9 Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), 10 Ben Healy (Edinburgh Rugby), 11 Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors), 12 Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby), 13 Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby), 14 Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby), 15 Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors)

Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews (Glasgow Warriors), 17 Rory Sutherland (unattached), 18 WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby), 19 Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), 20 Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors), 21 George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), 22 Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby), 23 Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors)

More Scotland Autumn Internationals Rugby News >