Three changes for championship finale
Head Coach Gregor Townsend today named three changes to the starting Scotland team for this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations finale against Wales in Cardiff (14 March, kick-off 2.15pm) – live on BBC.
All three adjustments are made to the forward pack, where hooker and vice-captain Stuart McInally, number 8 Magnus Bradbury (both Edinburgh), and second-row Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) come in – the latter starting for the first time this campaign.
Glasgow Warriors pair Fraser Brown (hooker) and Scott Cummings (second-row) move to the bench as a consequence, with fellow Warrior Matt Fagerson coming into the match-day squad to take the place among the replacements vacated by the promoted Bradbury, with Nick Haining unavailable through illness.
The rest of the pack is unchanged, meaning props Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) and Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), and flankers Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson (both Edinburgh) are among the ten players to start every Test this campaign.
The entire back division earns selection for a third Test in a row, with half-backs Ali Price and Adam Hastings, centre Sam Johnson (all Glasgow Warriors) and the back-three of full-back Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) and Sean Maitland (Saracens) – now ninth in Scotland’s all-time top try-scorers after a brace against France – making up the balance of the ever-present ten, with Gloucester’s Chris Harris back to partner Johnson in midfield.
Saturday will also see captain Hogg move into joint seventh place on Scotland’s all-time appearance list, overtaking recently retired former skippers Greig Laidlaw and John Barclay to join Jason White and Nathan Hines on 77 caps.
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “We set out this season to improve our consistency over a run of five tough games, something we have done well so far.
“We’ve stayed in the fight in every game, which is a credit to how hard the players have worked in training and during the Tests.
“It’s also been encouraging to see how well the players have grown together and have taken on board the input from new coaches, Steve (Tandy) and Pieter (de Villiers), who have done a great job in their first season with the team.
“We’ve still got a lot to improve on and we’ll have to fight even harder on Saturday in Cardiff, which is one of the best and toughest places to play Test rugby.” Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend
He added: “We have huge respect for the Welsh team, who narrowly missed out on a World Cup Final a few months ago. They are well coached and have some outstanding players.
“It will be a fantastic occasion and one last opportunity to play to our potential in this championship.”
Scotland team to play Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff
15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 76 caps
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 37 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
4. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 7 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 42 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 18 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 32 caps
8. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 50 caps
17. Allan Dell (London Irish) – 32 caps
18. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 38 caps
19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 12 caps
20. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
22. Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors) – 28 caps
23. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap