Scotland boost as quartet passed fit for crunch clash with Samoa

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Scotland's worst injury fears failed to materialise after Finn Russell, John Hardie, Ross Ford and Matt Scott were all passed fit for their do-or-die clash with Samoa.

The Dark Blues can clinch a World Cup quarter-final slot if they beat the Pacific Islanders - who have no hope of reaching the knock-out rounds - in Newcastle on Saturday.

And their hopes have been given a significant boost after influential playmaker Russell shook off the ankle knock which kept him out of last weekend's 34-16 loss to South Africa to be named in the starting XV at stand-off.

Flanker Hardie, who has not featured since the Scots' opener with Japan, has recovered from a head knock, as has hooker Ford and inside centre Scott following the concussions they both sustained in that Springbok defeat.

Stuart Hogg also limped off at St James' Park with cramp but is another who has been given the thumbs up to take on the Samoans in their final Pool D fixture.

In total, head coach Vern Cotter has made four changes to his pack, with another three in the backs.

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