SAM JOHNSON may be easing his way back from an injury that has kept him out of a good part of Scotland’s summer preparations for the Rugby World Cup, but he is adamant there will be no holding back as he takes on the big, physical Georgians in Tbilisi tomorrow.

“You go out there, cross the line and change; any distractions, anything like that you don’t think about,” he said. “It is so unfortunate for Sam [Skinner, who has been ruled out of the World Cup after damaging a hamstring last weekend], and anyone who gets injured leading into such a huge event, but injuries are part of rugby. You have to move forward.”

For him, the main job will be that with the grand total of four caps to his name, he has to be the experienced head alongside Rory Hutchison, pictured, who will be making his first Test start in yet another new midfield combination.

Not that it worries Johnson who has been impressed by what he has seen of Hutchison over the summer.

“He’s a really good kid, really confident in his ability, which is good” Johnson said. “It is good to see him getting a start this weekend. It’s a funny one, three weeks and three different midfield combinations but I am sure he will be chomping at the bit – the same with Huw Jones, who is on the bench and can’t wait to get on and make an impression.”

That is at the core of the difference between the trio; after his Six Nations performances, Johnson was probably one of the select few who could have made it to Japan even if he had not managed to play at all over these warm-up matches. Though he can’t and won’t accept it, the truth is that he is there more to get match fitness than with a point to prove.

That is certainly not true of the other two. Hutchison, who has soared from obscurity to the verge of the Rugby World Cup over the course of the last few months, could be vying with Jones for the final spot among the backs.

Just 18 months ago, anyone saying Jones might not go to the World Cup would have been laughed out of the clubhouse. True, he had struggled, not just with fitness, for Glasgow Warriors, but he had always delivered for the national side.

Now, he is under pressure. Chris Harris took his chance to cement that 13 shirt last week with a try and a strong defensive performance, which underscored Jones’ main weakness, while Hutchison is being handed first go at doing the same this week.

So in different ways they are all playing for a spot and Johnson is taking nothing for granted.

“We’re at the business end, with the squad being announced next week,” he said. “I have no idea if I am going or not but this is my week to pull on the jersey so I have to get my clarity right this weekend going into the game, get my mindset right, my physicality right and express myself when I get out there.”

All of which will be easier said than done. The emotion in the Dinamo Arena where they are playing will be intense as Georgians flock to see the latest stage in their country’s progress towards the elite.

They are desperate to mark the occasion with a win and it is up to the Scots, with their poor away record, to quieten them, undermine the home power and find a way to win.

“The crowd is going to be buzzing, trying to get their side right up for it. We have got to stick strong as a unit and try to kill the crowd as early as possible,” Johnson said.