Wales v Scotland: Teams
Ryan Jones has been moved into the second row to replace banned lock Bradley Davies in Wales' starting XV to face Scotland.
Last Updated: 12/02/12 9:05am
Former Wales captain Ryan Jones will take the place of banned lock Bradley Davies in Sunday's RBS Six Nations clash against Millennium Stadium visitors Scotland.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has, as expected, moved Jones from blindside flanker to partner his Ospreys colleague Ian Evans in the second row.
And in a triple fitness boost for Gatland, flanker Dan Lydiate has recovered from an ankle injury to reclaim the number six shirt, prop Gethin Jenkins has shaken off knee trouble to start and skipper Sam Warburton also features.
Warburton went off at half-time during Wales' dramatic 23-21 victory over Ireland in Dublin because of a leg injury, but he has been named to pack down alongside back-row colleagues Lydiate and Toby Faletau.
Davies is sidelined until March 26 after receiving a seven-week suspension yesterday for foul play during the Ireland game, when he recklessly tip-tackled Irish replacement Donnacha Ryan.
Jenkins, despite being hurt while on Heineken Cup duty for Cardiff Blues just 18 days ago, will win his 84th cap, taking over from Saracens loosehead Rhys Gill.
Gill does not feature in the matchday 22, with Paul James providing prop cover. The bench also includes 24-year-old uncapped Scarlets lock Lou Reed.
All Gatland's changes are up front, as he predictably retains the back division en bloc that caused mayhem for Ireland's defence and conjured tries for Jonathan Davies (two) and George North.
"Gethin brings a wealth of experience to the team, which is the main reason we have brought him in for Rhys, who is unlucky to miss out, with Paul James covering both sides of the scrum from the bench," said Gatland.
"Dan's return from injury is timely, and Ryan's versatility allows us to cover for Bradley with minimum disruption, with Lou Reed also giving us an extra option from the bench.
"We cannot afford to underestimate Scotland.
"The amount of possession and territory they had against England last weekend meant that they should have won the game, and they will come to the Millennium Stadium buoyed by that knowledge."
Scotland, who have not won in Cardiff for 10 years, hand a first start to fly-half Greig Laidlaw in Cardiff.
Laidlaw has been handed the opportunity to impress at No.10, where he is poised to win his fourth cap in place of Dan Parks, who announced his international retirement in the wake of a 13-6 defeat to England.
Edinburgh prop Geoff Cross has been recalled in place of Newcastle tighthead Euan Murray, who does not play on Sundays for religious reasons, in the only other change to the starting XV.
Uncapped Glasgow Warriors trio Ed Kalman, Duncan Weir and Stuart Hogg have been named on the bench.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has retained Chris Cusiter at scrum-half, with Mike Blair in reserve, opting against an all-Edinburgh combination of Blair and Laidlaw at half-back.
Laidlaw won his first two caps as a replacement scrum-half and made his first Scotland appearance at fly-half in an impressive substitute performance against England - something which may have hastened Parks' decision to call time on his eight-year Test career.
The 26-year-old, nephew of former Scotland and Lions scrum-half Roy Laidlaw, is also in line to be the frontline goal-kicker, having held those duties for Edinburgh.
Robinson said: "Congratulations to Greig on his first start. He is a gifted footballer who is acclimatising very well to the differing demands of the stand-off position from having spent most of his career at scrum-half.
"Having lost last weekend, I believe the time is right to move on and look to develop our emerging talent at stand-off."
Weir is among those emerging talents. He scored 20 points, including a solo try, in Scotland A's 35-0 win over England Saxons last Friday, contributing to his elevation to the Test squad. Hogg also scored a try in the match at Galashiels.
Cross is the only change in the pack, coming into an all-Edinburgh front row of hooker and captain Ross Ford and loosehead Allan Jacobsen, with Kalman taking his place on the bench.
Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton have been named at second row, with Alasdair Strokosch, Ross Rennie and David Denton in the back row.
Outside Cusiter and Laidlaw are Sean Lamont and Nick De Luca at centre, Max Evans and Lee Jones on the wings and Rory Lamont at full-back.
Wales: 15 L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), 14 A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), 13 J Davies (Scarlets), 12 J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), 11 G North (Scarlets), 10 R Priestland (Scarlets), 9 M Phillips (Bayonne); 1 G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), 2 H Bennett (Ospreys), 3 A Jones (Ospreys), 4 R Jones (Ospreys), 5 I Evans (Ospreys), 6 D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), 7 S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), 8 T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons)
Replacements: 16 K Owens (Scarlets), 17 P James (Ospreys), 18 L Reed (Scarlets), 19 A Powell (Sale Sharks), 20 L Williams (Cardiff Blues), 21 J Hook (Perpignan), 22 S Williams (Scarlets).
Scotland: R Lamont (Glasgow Warriors); L Jones (Edinburgh), N De Luca (Edinburgh), S Lamont (Scarlets), M Evans (Castres); G Laidlaw (Edinburgh), C Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (capt, Edinburgh), G Cross (Edinburgh), R Gray (Glasgow Warriors), J Hamilton (Gloucester), A Strokosch (Gloucester), R Rennie (Edinburgh), D Denton (Edinburgh).
Replacements: S Lawson (Gloucester), E Kalman (Glasgow Warriors), A Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), J Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), M Blair (Edinburgh), D Weir (Glasgow Warriors), S Hogg (Glasgow Warriors).