Graham gets the nod as Townsend makes three changes for Wales encounter

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Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes to his side for Saturday’s Round 2 clash with Wales at BT Murrayfield.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes to his side for Saturday’s Round 2 clash with Wales at BT Murrayfield.

The hosts head into the weekend off the back of a momentous 11-6 victory over England at Twickenham last weekend – their first at Rugby HQ for 38 years – and will be looking to make it two wins from two in Edinburgh.

Townsend will be without Jamie Ritchie, Cameron Redpath and Sean Maitland for the visit of Wayne Pivac’s side, with all three missing out through injury.

Scarlets back-row Blade Thomson and Harlequins centre James Lang come in as replacements in the starting XV, as well as Edinburgh winger Darcy Graham.

Captain Stuart Hogg continues at full-back following his Guinness Six Nations Man of the Match performance in that Round 1 victory, with try-scorer Duhan van der Merwe on one wing, and Graham on the other.

Lang will line up alongside Chris Harris in the midfield, with Ali Price and Finn Russell forming the half-back partnership.

Thomson is the only change in the pack from the side that regained the Calcutta Cup last time out, with Rory Sutherland, George Turner and Zander Fagerson making up the front row, while Jonny Gray and Scott Cummings continue at lock.

Thomson comes will start as blindside flanker, with Hamish Watson and Matt Fagerson alongside him in the back row.

Edinburgh hooker David Cherry – fresh from his international debut last weekend – is joined by Oli Kebble and WP Nel as front row cover on the bench

Richie Gray and Gary Graham are the other replacement forwards, with Scott Steele, Jaco van der Walt and Huw Jones available to cover the backs.

Townsend said: “We have an opportunity this weekend against Wales to continue the positive start to the Guinness Six Nations we made last week against England.

“It was a very encouraging performance at Twickenham and the squad performed to a level which has to be the benchmark throughout the tournament.

“Wales are also coming into this game after a win and will have the same objective, so it will be a tough challenge as always.

“Both teams were involved in physical contests last weekend, and that is evidenced by the injuries Wales and we ourselves have picked up.

“For us, we are able to bring in three quality players in Blade, James and Darcy. They have been training well and are highly motivated to make the most of this opportunity.”

Scotland team to play Wales at BT Murrayfield, Saturday 13 February (kick-off 4.45pm)

15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 81 caps – Captain

14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 15 caps

13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 24 caps

12. James Lang (Harlequins) – 5 caps

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 6 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 52 caps

9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps

1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 12 caps

2. George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps

3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 35 caps

4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps

5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) – 62 caps

6. Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 9 caps

7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh – 37 caps

8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps


16. David Cherry (Edinburgh) – 1 cap

17. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps

18. WP Nel (Edinburgh) – 41 caps

19. Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 66 caps

20. Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) – 3 caps

21. Scott Steele (Harlequins) – 2 caps

22. Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh) – 1 cap

23. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 27 caps