Six Nations 2014: Warren Gatland rings changes as Wales prepare to play Scotland
Wales were well beaten by England in their last outing
Thursday 13 March 2014
Wales coach Warren Gatland has made six changes from the team beaten by England for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations finale against Scotland in Cardiff.
Fly-half Rhys Priestland, hooker Richard Hibbard and prop Adam Jones are all relegated to the bench following the 29-18 defeat at Twickenham last weekend.
Dan Biggar replaces Priestland, with Scarlets forwards Ken Owens and Rhodri Jones preferred to Hibbard and Jones, respectively.
Elsewhere, Liam Williams takes over at full-back from dislocated shoulder victim Leigh Halfpenny, scrum-half Mike Phillips returns instead of Rhys Webb, who has an ankle injury, and fit-again lock Luke Charteris is in for Jake Ball.
Prop Gethin Jenkins, meanwhile, will set a new Wales cap record on Saturday when he makes his 105th Test match appearance.
It will be Biggar's first start of the current Six Nations campaign, but his call-up is not a surprise given how poorly Priestland performed against England.
The demotion of Hibbard and Jones was not as widely expected, but Gatland has decided that he needs to freshen things up after Wales saw their title hopes disappear.
Jenkins, though, who was sin-binned for scrummaging offences in each of Wales' last two Six Nations games, keeps his place and will move ahead of former fly-half Stephen Jones on Wales' all-time appearance chart.
Charteris' return from a neck problem will strengthen Wales in the lineout, but Gatland's only other changes are injury-enforced after Halfpenny and Webb were both hurt in the England game.
Wales have not lost at the Millennium Stadium against Scotland since 2002, and Gatland will demand his players end a disappointing campaign on a positive note.
"Saturday is an opportunity for us to put in a performance we know we can, and finish the Six Nations on a high," Gatland said.
"We've made a number of changes and freshened things up with a just a six-day turnaround between matches.
"Liam and Mike come in, with Leigh and Rhys ruled out, and Dan Biggar gets his opportunity at fly-half.
"In the front row, Ken Owens and Rhodri Jones get their chance to start after impressing off the bench, and it's good to have Luke back from injury in the second row.
"Scotland will come looking to play some rugby. They had a morale-boosting win against Italy and were unlucky to lose against France in recent weeks.
"We will be looking for a more accurate execution this week to finish with a win at home in Cardiff."
With Webb injured and Phillips promoted to the starting XV, Scarlets scrum-half Rhodri Williams goes on to the bench, where he will be joined by Priestland, Hibbard, Jones, Ball, Paul James, Justin Tipuric and James Hook.
Wales team to play Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday...
L Williams (Scarlets); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Racing Metro), G North (Northampton); D Biggar (Ospreys), M Phillips (Racing Metro); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), K Owens (Scarlets), R Jones (Scarlets), L Charteris (Perpignan), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Racing Metro), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), P James (Bath), A Jones (Ospreys), J Ball (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), R Williams (Scarlets), R Priestland (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan).
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell
'Adel Taarabt is about three stone overweight. I can't pick him' - Harry Redknapp
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
QPR vs Liverpool match report: Liverpool snatch victory in seven late minutes of madness
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce calm over lack of new contract
QPR vs Liverpool player ratings: Who was the star man? And did Mario Balotelli emerge with any credit?
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'