Kobe - Scotland coach Gregor Townsend insists he "can't wait" for Monday's do-or-die clash against a bruising Samoa which the Scots must win or their tournament is all but over.

With qualification for the knockout stages on the line, particularly after Japan's shock win over Ireland, Townsend has plumped for a new back row, with the vastly experienced John Barclay not even on the bench, and injected Darcy Graham and Chris Harris into the backline.

"If we don't win all the next three games, we won't make the quarter-finals," Townsend declared bluntly with Japan and Russia to play after Samoa in the tightly congested Pool A.

He said Scotland had recovered from the Ireland defeat and were well-prepared for the expected physical challenge to come from a Samoa side who had two players suspended for dangerous tackles after they beat Russia.

"You always get a sense of negativity after a defeat or a performance where you don't play anywhere near your best, but there is also a sense that you can't wait for the next game," Townsend said.

"This week we see the physical challenge that Samoa bring, we need to not only match it but better it. We have to ride their tackles and work them hard in the set-piece.

"The changes we've made in the back row, we believe, will give us that carrying and line-out presence. But having the experience in front of them and behind them at half-back, we believe should work out well."

Magnus Bradbury, Blade Thomson and Jamie Ritchie, with 23 caps between them, form the new loose trio with the shake-up in part because of Hamish Watson being injured out of the tournament.

The fledgling trio have an unchanged tight five for support and behind them, half-backs Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell start together for the 35th time to equal the record set by the legendary Roy Laidlaw (Greig's uncle) and John Rutherford.

Further out, 22-year-old wing Graham, who was on the bench against Ireland, typified the youth and enthusiasm Townsend was looking for.

"Every time he's played for Scotland, he's taken the game to the opposition. Not every performance has been perfect and there are things he can work on as a young player but he's someone who goes at the opposition with ball in hand," the coach said.

"There's a real buzz of energy when he gets on the ball and it's the same when Stuart Hogg gets on the ball, so it's a great combination to have in the back three alongside Sean Maitland."

Having thrown the dice and gambled on youth, Townsend said his side had a point to prove in their attempt to claw their way back into the tournament.

"For those who haven't been selected in the 23 this week, someone else has that opportunity now to perform. So a point to prove, yes, but we have to put in big performances against Samoa, Russia and Japan, and then let's see where that takes us."



15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (captain), 1 Allan Dell

Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 George Horne, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Duncan Taylor