Wales v Scotland: Gregor Townsend makes five changes for trip to Cardiff

Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Sam Skinner and Sione Tuipulotu all added to starting XV for Six Nations round two match

Pierre Schoeman has replaced Rory Sutherland as starting loose-head prop against Wales. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Pierre Schoeman has replaced Rory Sutherland as starting loose-head prop against Wales. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GREGOR TOWNSEND has rung the changes for Scotland as they look to build on their Six Nations opening weekend victory over England with a first win against Wales in Cardiff since 2002, making four tactical and one enforced change to his starting XV.

He has swapped his entire front-row, with Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally and WP Nel being rewarded for strong showings off the bench last weekend by being handed the numbers one, two and three jerseys, respectively, while Rory Sutherland, George Turner and Zander Fagerson will now be charged with bringing energy to the pack later in the pack.

Meanwhile, Sam Skinner replaces the injured Jamie Ritchie – who has had surgery on his hamstring – at blindside flanker, with Rory Darge promoted to be in line for his first cap off the bench. Behind the scrum, Sione Tuipulotu comes in at inside centre, Cam Redpath takes his place on the bench, and Sam Johnson drops out the match-day squad altogether.


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Grant Gilchrist will lead the side out at the Principality Stadium in recognition of his 50th cap, and he also takes over the vice-captaincy from Ritchie.

Meanwhile, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has handed Jac Morgan a debut at open-side flanker. “He’s someone that’s really impressed us in training,” said Pivac. “He’s worked very, very hard, he gives us a lot of physicality and he’s very good over the ball.

“We expect Scotland to come down full of confidence. They’ve started with a good win. Across the board they are very competitive and committed side that throws everything at every play. We know that’s going to be tough work for us and a big challenge that we’re looking forward to and are up for.”

 

Scotland (v Wales at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, on Saturday @ 2.15pm): S Hogg©; D Graham, C Harris, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; F Russell (VC), A Price; P Schoeman, S McInally, W Nel, J Gray, G Gilchrist (VC), S Skinner, H Watson, M Fagerson. Subs: G Turner, R Sutherland, Z Fagerson, M Bradbury,  R Darge, B White, B Kinghorn, C Redpath.

Wales: L Williams; A Cuthbert, O Watkin, N Tompkins, L Rees-Zammit; D Biggar, T Williams; W Jones, R Elias, T Francis, W Rowlands, A Beard, T Basham, J Morgan, R Moriarty. Subs: D Lake, G Thomas, D Lewis, S Davies, A Wainwright, G Davies, C Sheedy, J Davies.


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About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

12 Comments

  1. Rory Darge
    Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo
    Rory Darge
    Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo
    Rory Darge
    Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo
    Rory Darge

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  2. I did think the other night we might have a new front row, or at least big Zander keeping his place. Keeps things fresh and might prevent the first choice front burning out if they did start each game….

    Wise selection anyway and thsts a very strong bench who can do some damage when they are called upon

  3. Cannot wait to see Tuipulotu bursting on to flat passes from Finn and adding an incisiveness which has been notably absent from the Scottish centres in recent times

  4. Since Gatland went my dislike for Wales is fortunately starting to ease, but we really need to go down there and win, or suffer another ‘almost’ season.

    But I think we can do it, despite the loss of Jamie Ritchie as he has that real hard edge.

    As perhaps you Hamish, I always worry Zander will give away a couple of silly pens.

    I like the idea of the two Front Rows being Units, must inspire a bit of healthy competition, and they are both pretty useful.

    Wish I had a ticket

  5. I’m buzzing after last week and given another lift seeing the 2 young lads on the bench (Darge & Redpath). We know what Johnson can do so will be interesting to see how Tuipulotu goes. We definitely need to up our gainline metres in midfield. Start or finish, the 6 front rowers will all play and switching them is pretty similar to the Saffer approach. We’ll see a Welsh reaction and Ritchie will be a miss to combat their breakdown threat but plenty to be optimistic about.

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  6. Router Al – Wales annoy me too.

    Welsh press comments express bewilderment and anger re Welsh selections, I’ve long thought Pivac caught between styles and hasnt the personel to carry out the game plan he wants to play. Turner, Darge and Redpath can have an impact

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  7. Router Al – Wales annoy me too.

    Welsh press comments express bewilderment and anger re Welsh selections, I’ve long thought Pivac caught between styles and hasnt the personel to carry out the game plan he wants to play. Turner, Darge and Redpath can have an impact

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  8. Was listening to the Radio 5 rugby podcast and Tom English suggested these changes. First time for everything I suppose when Tom gets something right

    Congratulations to Grant Gilchrist on his 50th cap. Well done!

  9. Not a bad tactic in the front row – Nel is a better starter rather than bringing energy in the 2nd half. Bringing Turner, Fagerson and Sutherland on will bring some real tempo in the 2h. Seems a bit harsh for Johnson as he was decent but Redpath is a good player to bring on. I like Skinner at 6 also – he plays their a bit for Exeter and brings more grunt in the forwards.

  10. Interesting changes to the team, and the bench guys also. Interesting a complete front row change, maybe hard , since I thought newly returned Sutherland was the weakness in the front row, not the other guys. Thought Tuipulotu would get a run to try and bring a bit of attack flair and leave Harris to do what he does best defend. On the bench nice to see Darge get a possible game and White hold his position, and a run for Redpath. Come on guys I really want to beat Wales they really annoy me as a team.

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    • I think this is a stronger starting pack than last week in an effort to get on top of the Welsh in the set piece and then bring on the more mobile players to run riot in the second half. I cannot wait to see Tuipulotu bursting onto flat passes from Russell and emulating the way the centres play at Racing. Scotland have been seriously lacking a cutting edge in the centre for some time now and hopefully he is the answer

    • I agree re. Sutherland. He hasn’t had much game time recently. That being said, Zander doesn’t inspire me as a scrummager. He’s good in the loose though! I also thought Sam Johnson was pretty lackluster last weekend. He clearly needs Skinner as a lineout option, but will be good to see Darge get his chance.

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