Russell and Ford fit for Scotland

Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg, John Hardie, Sean Maitland and Ross Ford have recovered from injury to start for Scotland against Samoa.

Hooker Ford had been a major doubt with a head knock picked up during the Rugby World Cup defeat by South Africa.

Centre Mark Bennett also returns to a side showing seven changes after missing out against the Springboks.

A victory at St James' Park on Saturday would secure Scotland a place in the quarter-finals.

Samoa cannot now qualify and will be without Newcastle Falcons wing Alesana Tuilagi, who has been suspended after foul play during his side's weekend defeat by Japan.

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter said: "Every Test match is a 'must-win' when you represent your country.

"We've put in a huge amount of work to get us to this point and our performances and commitment have put us in a position to qualify for the last eight.

"We'll need to be up to the challenge, enjoy the opportunity and maintain the awareness needed to play to our strengths and impose our game."

Samoa head coach Stephen Betham has also made seven changes and has ensured that, if fly-half Patrick Fa'apale comes off the bench, all but one of his players will have played during these finals.

Maitland returns on the wing to replace Tim Visser, while Bennett takes the place of Richie Vernon at outside centre and fly-half Russell comes in for Duncan Weir.

Alasdair Dickinson and Ross Ford come off the bench to join Willem Nel in the front row, with Gordon Reid and Fraser Brown dropping to the bench,

Ryan Wilson starts in the back row along with Hardie, with Josh Strauss relegated to the bench and Blair Cowan dropping out of the match-day squad.

Richie Gray will earn his 50th cap as he continues in the second row alongside brother Jonny.

Should versatile back Sean Lamont come off the bench, he will become the third Scotland international to earn 100 caps, joining Chris Paterson and women's stalwart Donna Kennedy.