The scale of change unveiled yesterday introduced an extra layer of jeopardy to a Test match that there is no possible excuse for failing to win since another mishap would be open to the interpretation that there has been an inability to learn from past mistakes.

It was in Fiji last year that what might have been a triumphant first campaign under head coach Gregor Townsend, was transformed after he had made multiple changes to the team that had claimed an away win in Australia the previous weekend, only to suffer a deeply embarrassing defeat.

Whereas there was no need to change the team as they did on that occasion, there is mitigation this time around since a posse of senior players have returned to bolster the squad following a defeat rather than a win the previous week.

However, there was still no need to make so many changes with last week’s captain Stuart McInally, who is now routinely being described as having established himself as ‘world class’, as well as fellow stalwart forwards Jonny Gray and Hamish Watson all left out of the starting team. It will consequently be all too easy for Fiji’s coaches to persuade their players that the Scots are treating them lightly and, for all that he made it clear that managing the squad through a challenging four match schedule is a contributory factor, experimentation also seems to be part of Townsend’s thinking.

Reflecting on that loss during last year’s tour he admitted, however, that there can be no lack of respect for the Fijians.

“I’ve probably not thought about (last year’s game) for a while until we started watching it in preparation for this game. It should inform our players of the threat that Fiji bring and they’re better than they were back in Suva,” he pointed out.

“Last November they lost to Ireland 23-20 and Ireland beat everybody last year in the November Tests and Six Nations and the team that pushed them closest was Fiji. So, they’re a quality side and their players individually are getting better and better.

“More and more of them are professional are playing at top clubs. Our players – and a number of them played that day – are very aware of the threats Fiji pose and how they’ll be looking for another big scalp. It’s an opportunity for them to beat a Tier One nation away from home.”

To that end he claimed that there was an element of selecting a XV that is specially designed for this encounter.

“You want to bring players in that weren't available last week, that missed the chance to play. That was a more straightforward decision, but other selections were based around the threats Fiji pose and the players who are right to combat those,” he said.

However, he also acknowledged that he is taking yet one more gamble by picking a team that is fundamentally changed in every department, given Scotland’s record of poor starts to campaigns.

“It is a new team,” said Townsend.“It might not be a perfect or fluid performance in the first 20 minutes, but we'd also like to believe it will be better than the first half of last week's game.”

Such is the disparity in resources and preparation time, the Scots go into the match as odds-on favourites, but the stakes feel higher than they needed to be.