Scotland welcome Grand Slam chasers Wales to the capital – The Six Nations Preview Show

Greig Laidlaw

Scotland captain, Greig Laidlaw is dropped to the bench for home match against Wales. (Credit: David Ronney)

Following back to back defeats in this Six Nations Championship, Scotland prepare for their last home match of the tournament against Grand Slam chasers, Wales.

With Scotland at terms with themselves out of the running to win the competition, they’ll be looking to upset the Welsh party with a win against the visitors.

David Ronney is joined by Bryce Donaldson and Fraser Munro for The Six Nations Preview Show.

Watch it below:

Townsend drops Captain Laidlaw as Russell returns to Scotland lineup against Wales

Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend has made the surprise change by bringing in Ali Price over Greig Laidlaw (Credit: David Ronney)

Scotland Rugby Head Coach, Gregor Townsend has left out nation captain, Greig Laidlaw in his first XV as part of four changes ahead of their match against Wales this weekend.

Ali Price is preferred over Laidlaw at scrum-half as Finn Russell, Willem Nel and Darcy Graham all come into the starting line-up.

Scotland host Wales at BT Murrayfield on Saturday as they look to stop the visitors hopes of a Grand Slam this Six Nations Championship.

With Scotland unable to win the tournament this year, Townsend explained why he made the changes to the side that lost to France two weeks ago.

He said: “We looked at every position. We also reflected on the fact that we are out of the championship now, so if there is someone out there that has really earned his opportunity.

Grieg Laidlaw

Greig Laidlaw has started the last six tests for Scotland (Credit: David Ronney)

“This is a good time to see if it helps the team.”

Russell is a welcome return to the squad after missing the match against France due to a concussion. His creative flair was greatly missed and despite his absence the play-maker still leads in the tournament for most try assists. His total currently sits at three and he will be looking to add to this account in front of a home support.

Price is set to earn his 23rd cap in Scottish colours and Townsend praised the Glasgow Warriors player.

He added: “Ali [Price] is one of the best in the game at moving the ball away quickly, through his own speed but also through his accuracy of pass.

“He has started this season in really good form.”

Gregor Townsend

Scotland have conceded 69 points in three matches this Six Nations (Credit: David Ronney)

Despite criticism Laidlaw has received for his inability to get the ball away quick enough from the break-down, Townsend still sees him playing a pivotal part from the sideline.

He said: “Greig [Laidlaw] is the only player who has started our last six tests so he is a key part of our squad. He is obviously going to play a different role this week from the bench but we see him playing an important part of the game on Saturday.”

Nel returns for his first appearance since coming off injured in the first week of the tournament. He will be a welcome addition to the forward pack which has struggled in the scrum, despite having the heaviest squad in the competition.

The prop only played 49 minutes against Italy but made six tackles and will work to stop a leaky defence that has conceded 69 points in three matches.

Graham makes his first start for Scotland after previously making two appearances as a substitute. He comes in place of the injured Sean Maitland and will join Edinburgh team-mate Blair Kinghorn at the back. The young winger turned full-back has impressed this year scoring three tries and leading the tournament in most carries, metres gained and clean breaks.

Tommy Seymour completes the back three and joins Jonny Gray to earn a half century of caps for his country.

Therefore the squad looks as follows:

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The squad facing Wales (Credit: David Ronney )

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Four uncapped Edinburgh players are included in Scotland’s test squad

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has included four uncapped Edinburgh Rugby players in his squad for next month’s Autumn Test Series.

It will be Townsend’s first series in charge on home soil at Murrayfield. The test begins on November 11 against Samoa, followed by New Zealand on November 18 and concluding with Australia on November 25.

Centre Phil Burleigh, scrum-half Nathan Fowles, front-row Darryl Marfo and back-row forward Jamie Ritchie are the Edinburgh Rugby call-ups. Ritchie scored a try in Edinburgh’s recent 37-14 victory over London Irish in the Challenge Cup.

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Phil Burleigh is one of ten uncapped players in the squad (Credit: Edinburgh Rugby)

There is no place in the team, however, for two Edinburgh players. Magnus Bradbury is out as he serves a club suspension for picking up an injury on a night out and fellow back-row John Hardie is under investigation for alleged cocaine abuse.

A total of 10 uncapped players have been named in the 36-man squad. The other six include Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow), Luke Hamilton (Leicester), Scott Cummings and George Turner (both Glasgow).

As Greig Laidlaw is missing with a fractured ankle, John Barclay has been named captain for the series.

There are places in the team for full-back Stuart Hogg and wing Tommy Seymour following their involvement with the British and Irish Lions earlier this year.

Townsend has said that he will not be trying to experiment with his new-look side when the series begins.

“There are 10 uncapped players – five of them have been involved before, but we wanted to choose this squad based on form.”

“We will be looking to play our best team in all three games. Now is not the time to be trying things we are not sure about”.

SCOTLAND SQUAD FOR AUTUMN SERIES IN FULL:

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, John Barclay, Scott Cummings, Cornell du Preez, Zander Fagerson, Ross Ford, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Luke Hamilton, Darryl Marfo, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Tim Swinson, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Ryan Wilson, Hamish Watson

Backs: Phil Burleigh, Alex Dunbar, Dougie Fife, Nathan Fowles, Chris Harris, Nick Grigg, Stuart Hogg, Pete Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Huw Jones, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour

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