6N: Scotland change pack, Wales to debut prop
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Scotland will go for the lead in the Six Nations rugby standings against Wales on Saturday in Cardiff with a team changed by three after beating France last weekend.
All three changes were in the forwards: Hooker Stuart McInally, lock Sam Skinner for the first time in this championship, and No. 8 Magnus Bradbury were starting.
Fraser Brown and Scott Cummings dropped to the reserves, and an ill Nick Haining was unavailable.
The backline was the same for a third straight test.
Scotland, which has beaten Italy and France, will end up on top of the standings with a first win over Wales in Cardiff since 2002.
“We've stayed in the fight in every game, which is a credit to how hard the players have worked,” coach Gregor Townsend said on Thursday.
The Wales-Scotland match is the only men's game scheduled this weekend, in what was to be the final round. The Italy-England and France-Ireland matches were postponed because of the new coronavirus pandemic. New dates for them and the earlier postponed Ireland-Italy game have not been set.
Meanwhile, Sale tighthead prop WillGriff John will debut for a Wales side on a three-match losing run.
The English-born, 130-kilogram John has appeared in every Premiership game for Sale this season. He's in for Dillon Lewis, who was injured last weekend in the loss to England at Twickenham but declared fit during the week.
Wyn Jones was back on the loosehead side after he missed the England game because of a hip problem.
Lewis and Rob Evans, the starting props against England, dropped out of the matchday 23.
Lock Cory Hill will make his first start since February 2019 after Jake Ball was ruled out by a shoulder injury, and scrumhalf Rhys Webb -- the only change in the backline -- will start for the first time since November 2017. Gareth Davies was his backup, and Tomos Williams was out.
Captain Alun Wyn Jones will equal Richie McCaw's world record for test caps with his 148th appearance. This will be his 139th for Wales, beside nine for the British and Irish Lions.
“Alun Wyn is one of the most iconic figures in the game, he is our leader, and I’m delighted for him as he continues to set the bar across the game,” coach Wayne Pivac said on Thursday.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Nick Tompkins, Hadleigh Parkes, Liam Williams, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Cory Hill, WillGriff John, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones. Reserves: Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Davies, Jarrod Evans, Johnny McNicholl.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain), Sean Maitland, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Jamie Ritchie, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Zander Fagerson, Stuart McInally, Rory Sutherland. Reserves: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Willem Nel, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Duncan Weir, Kyle Steyn.
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