International

Taylor promoted from bench in Scottish squad to face Wales

Vern_CotterHead Coach Vern Cotter (pictured) today named one change to the Scotland team to start against Wales in Cardiff this Saturday (13 February, kick-off 4.50pm) – live on BBC.

Both teams go into the match seeking their first win of the 2016 campaign, after the Scot’s home loss to England (15-9), and Wales’ 16-16 draw with Ireland in Dublin.

The selection of 26-year-old Saracens centre Duncan Taylor in midfield is one of two changes to the 23-man squad – promoted from the bench to partner Mark Bennett after Matt Scott injured his quad in training yesterday – with Sean Lamont taking the vacated place among the replacements.

The match will be Taylor’s fifth start in 14 caps for Scotland, and his first since the 2014 summer tour win over USA (24-6), with an untimely succession of injuries curtailing his involvement for the national team over the past two seasons.

Despite missing out on international opportunities, Taylor has excelled for his club side, building on their English Premiership title success last season with stirring performances in the current campaign.

All else is unchanged for the men in dark blue meaning Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour make up the back three, with the backs completed by Finn Russell and captain Greig Laidlaw.

The unchanged pack will again see John Barclay, John Hardie and David Denton in the back-row, and brothers Jonny and Richie Gray at lock, behind the all-Edinburgh Rugby front-row of Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and Willem Nel.

Scotland Head Coach, Vern Cotter, said: “This group have worked exceptionally hard this week to improve their accuracy under pressure after a frustrating opening game against England.

“We created opportunities that could have been capitalised upon, and converted into points.

“As a team we know we can perform better and believe we’re capable of making improvements all over the park.

“We know that Wales in Cardiff will not be easy but our focus is on improving our attacking and defensive mindset.”

Scotland team to play Wales at Principality Stadium

Saturday 13 February (kick-off 4.50pm) – live on BBC.

15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 39 caps; 9 tries, 2 pens, 51 points

14. Sean Maitland (London Irish) – 21 caps; 3 tries, 15 points

13. Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors) – 14 caps, 6 tries, 30 points

12. Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 13 caps

11. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 23 caps; 11 tries, 55 points

10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps, 2 tries, 3 cons, 1 pen, 19 points

9. Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester) CAPTAIN – 47 caps, 4 tries, 57 cons, 107 pens, 455 points

1. Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 53 caps; 2 tries, 10 points

2. Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby) – 95 caps, 2 tries, 10 points

3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) – 9 caps, 1 try, 5 points

4. Richie Gray (Castres) – 52 caps, 2 tries, 10 points

5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 20 caps, 1 try, 5 points

6. John Barclay (Scarlets) – 46 caps; 3 tries, 15 points

7. John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby) – 6 caps, 2 tries, 10 points

8. David Denton (Bath Rugby) – 33 caps

Substitutes

16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 3 caps

17. Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors) – 16 caps

18. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap

19. Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 18 caps

20. Blair Cowan (London Irish) – 16 caps, 2 tries, 10 points

21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby) – 8 caps

22. Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps, 2 tries, 6 cons, 10 pens, 1 drop, 55 points

23. Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors) – 101 caps, 14 tries, 70 points

Unavailable through injury: Adam Ashe (shoulder), Fraser Brown (ankle), Alex Dunbar (posterior thigh), Grant Gilchrist (groin), Henry Pyrgos (wrist), Peter Horne (foot), Matt Scott (quad), Richie Vernon (Shoulder), Tim Visser (hamstring).

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