VERN Cotter has insisted that the ability shown by Japan in their victory over South Africa did not come as a surprise to him, and that his team will certainly not be complacent when the two sides meet in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup tomorrow. Scotland’s head coach, who has named his strongest possible line-up for the game in Gloucester, believes the Japanese will have something different up their sleeves from the tactics they used at the weekend to beat the two-time former world champions.

“We weren’t surprised with Japan’s performance,” he said. “It didn’t really teach us anything - it simply reinforced what we already knew.

“They showed terrific drive and determination to get the win. Their overall game spoke volumes for their intentions in this World Cup. They showed tremendous focus and concentration and we need to match that.

“We didn’t change anything in training after the result, but it’s certainly made a few guys sit up and take notice. Seeing the result, the guys are aware of what’s coming – there will be no complacency from us in this game.”

Cotter’s team is close to the one that began the last warm-up game, against France at the start of this month. Stuart Hogg is fit again and replaces Sean Maitland at full-back; Sean Lamont, the most powerful winger in the squad, takes over from Tim Visser; and Grant Gilchrist is preferred at lock to Richie Gray. The newly eligible Josh Strauss is named on the bench, and Cotter expects him to play an important role later in the game as Scotland attempt to keep the pressure on Japan.

“His performances have been exceptional, and he will bring that to the Scotland team,” the coach said of Strauss, who qualifies after three years as a resident in Scotland. “The game will be played at a high tempo and we’ll need the players to play with a clear head. People like Josh and Richie coming on from the bench will give us that. Josh will be there to ensure we keep pressure on their defence: he’s a very good ball-carrier, and we’ll need to keep the pressure on them.”

Scotland (v Japan at Kingsholm, Gloucester, Wednesday, 2.30pm): S Hogg; T Seymour, M Bennett, M Scott, S Lamont; F Russell, G Laidlaw; A Dickinson, R Ford, W Nel, G Gilchrist, J Gray, R Wilson, J Hardie, D Denton. Substitutes: F Brown, R Grant, J Welsh, R Gray, J Strauss, H Pyrgos, P Horne, S Maitland.