Darcy Graham has been passed fit to start Scotland's Rugby World Cup opener against South Africa on Sunday after his pre-tournament injury scare.

The 26-year-old Edinburgh wing – seventh on the national team’s all-time scoring list – missed the last warm-up match with a quad strain but, after coming through training in Nice this week, he has now been cleared to play.

Prop Zander Fagerson is also back in the team after being suspended for the last two summer Tests following his red card in the victory at home to France five weeks ago. The Glasgow front-rower goes into the match having played less than an hour of rugby since the end of last season.

In a selection featuring no real surprises, Jack Dempsey has got the nod over Matt Fagerson to start at eight, with the latter on the bench. Captain Jamie Ritchie and the burgeoning Rory Darge complete the back row, with the experienced Hamish Watson missing out on the 23.

The Scots have gone for a five-to-three split on the bench, with Ali Price, Cam Redpath and Ollie Smith the three backs selected, meaning there is no place in the squad for in-form wing Kyle Steyn.

In a notable development, Stuart McInally – who was cut from the squad at the end of last month – has travelled to France as injury cover for Ewan Ashman, who is recovering from an injury picked up in training this week which ruled him out of the match against South Africa.

McInally, who had already announced his intention to retire from rugby after the World Cup, has not joined the 33-player squad. Dave Cherry is the replacement hooker this weekend.

Siya Kolisi returned to action last month just four months after rupturing his cruciate ligament

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi believes his side's Rugby World Cup opener against a "great" Scotland team in Marseille is the perfect opportunity to kick-start their title defence.

The Springboks have not enjoyed the best of starts at the last two World Cups, losing to Japan in 2015 and New Zealand four years ago.

However, that defeat to the All Blacks in 2019 galvanized the squad to play 'knockout rugby' from their second match, with the Springboks advancing through the pool and eventually lifting the trophy.

There is more expectation on them this time around but Kolisi said having to play an in-form Scotland first up in a Pool B that also includes world number one side Ireland has sharpened their focus.

"When it didn’t go well in 2019, every game became a playoff for us and that was good," Kolisi said. "I think any team would want to start like this so that you can see where you are and then make your plans from there.

"A lot has been said about our pool, but at the end of the day you have to beat the best to win the World Cup. It doesn’t matter how you do it."

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Kolisi said Scotland would present a tough challenge but feels the Springboks' meticulous preparation will stand them in good stead.

"They are a great team, they have been playing amazingly, you can see that in their results. We give them all the respect, but we have prepared really well," he added.

"We have seen a lot of them and that is why we go into the game with confidence, because of the work we have put in."

Playing in the United Rugby Championship for the past couple of seasons means many of the Scottish, and Irish for that matter, players are well known to the Springboks, something that would not have been the been the case before.

"It has played a huge role. Before that, you would only see some players for the first time in internationals," Kolisi said.

The flanker added that this was arguably the most open World Cup since the first tournament in 1987.

"I don’t know if people see us as favourites, we don’t think about that," he said. "What I do know is that everyone is coming for what we have, and we will give everything to defend it."

Scotland: Blair Kinghorn; Darcy Graham, Sione Tuipulotu, Huw Jones, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ben White; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson; Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist; Jamie Ritchie (capt), Rory Darge, Jack Dempsey.

Replacements: Dave Cherry, Jamie Bhatti, WP Nel, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Ali Price, Cameron Redpath, Ollie Smith.

Listen to live coverage of Ireland v Romania (Saturday 2.30pm) on RTÉ Radio 1, and follow live updates of that game, France v New Zealand and South Africa v Scotland (Sunday 4.45pm) on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app, with match reports on every game

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