Head coach Warren Gatland is able to name an unchanged team from the one which began the RBS 6 Nations round 1 fixture in Dublin. Gareth Anscombe, the original selection at 15 last week but who was replaced on the morning of the match by Liam Williams, makes his way back onto the bench at the expense of late call-up Alex Cuthbert. Jonathan Davies will win a 50th cap.
There is no room for long term servant Alex Cuthbert as Anscombe and Priestland fill the non-specialist positions on the bench. The inclusion of the two standoffs who can both play at full-back suggests that Biggar and perhaps Williams aren’t expected to finish the game and will be replaced at some time.
Wales’s bench has a great deal of experience and flexibility with scrum-half, Lloyd Williams also able to take on several roles behind the scrum, as he showed to great effect against England in the Rugby World Cup.
With Scotland opting for the roof to be closed, conditions are expected to be good for running rugby, which will reinforce Vern Cotter’s belief that Scottish progress lies in the hands of their exciting back line.
With Scotland’s front row, who held their own against England, providing the sternest test for Wales, who go with Scott Baldwin, Samson Lee and Rob Evans, it is expected, as is the practice in modern rugby, the entire front row will be changed at some time during the game. Wales have good options on the bench in this eventuality, with established stars in the form of Gethin Jenkins and Ken Owens, ably assisted by Tomas Francis, champing at the bit to get on the paddock.
There are interesting duals to be had all over the park, none less than the back row, where Wales’s Warburton, Tipuric and Faletau will do battle with Scotland’s Barclay, Hardie and Denton. Both sets of back row forwards will be anxious to set their mark on the game, especially the talented Justin Tipuric, who had an uncharacteristically quiet game against Ireland.
If it comes down to kicking, both Wales and Scotland have players of the highest calibre. Diminutive scrum-half, Greig Laidlaw has established himself as one of the finest kickers in the world, while Dan Biggar gets better with every game and surely must be set to fill the Lions number ten shirt.
Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Tom James; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Scott Baldwin, Samson Lee; Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones; Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.
Reps: Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins, Tomas Francis, Bradley Davies, Dan Lydiate, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, Gareth Anscombe
Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Mark Bennett, Duncan Taylor, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (captain); Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, WP Nel, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, John Hardie, David Denton.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Blair Cowan, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Duncan Weir, Sean Lamont.