McGeechan's new mix

Gregor Townsend has been moved into the centre positions as the Scotland coach, Ian McGeechan, searches for a winning Six Nations formula against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Edinburgh Reivers stand-off Duncan Hodge is drafted into the side for his first start since breaking his leg against the same opposition at Murrayfield last year, leaving Townsend at outside centre.

It is the latest twist in Townsend's chequered career, but when he runs out on to the pitch at the Millennium Stadium he will be receiving his 50th international cap.

In contrast, the Northampton winger Craig Moir is named for the first time at senior level as one of three changes to the team defeated by France a fortnight ago.

Apart from Moir and Hodge, the Newcastle lock Stuart Grimes returns in place of his club colleague Doddie Weir.

There is also a positional switch with Glenn Metcalfe moving to the left wing to accommodate Moir, with the 21-year-old Chris Paterson remaining at full-back.

Ireland make two changes for the game against France in Paris on Sunday. Kevin Maggs comes in for Shane Horgan on the right wing, while Rob Henderson takes over from Mike Mullins in the centre.

Horgan damaged a knee in a club match last Saturday and a medical scan yesterday indicated that he would not be fit in time. Henderson is preferred in the centre to Mullins.

The France captain, Fabien Pelous, said yesterday that the injury crisis affecting the French team is the result of too many fixtures and he is demanding changes to the calendar.

SCOTLAND (v Wales, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday): C Paterson (Edinburgh Reivers); C Moir (Northampton), G Townsend (Brive), J Leslie (Newcastle, capt), G Metcalfe (Glasgow); D Hodge (Edinburgh Reivers), A Nicol (Glasgow Caledonians); T Smith (Brive), S Brotherstone (Brive), M Stewart (Northampton), S Murray (Saracens), S Grimes (Newcastle), M Leslie (Edinburgh Reivers), B Pountney (Northampton), S Reid (Narbonne). Replacements: G Bulloch (Glasgow Caledonians), D Hilton (Glasgow Caledonians), D Weir (Newcastle), C Mather (Edinburgh Reivers), B Redpath (Narbonne), J McLaren (Bourgoin), A Bulloch (Glasgow Caledonians).

IRELAND (v France, Stade de France, Paris, Saturday): G Dempsey (Terenure College); K Maggs (Bath), B O'Driscoll (Blackrock College), R Henderson (Wasps), D Hickie (St Mary's College); R O'Gara (Cork Constitution), P Stringer (Shannon); P Clohessy (Young Munster), K Wood (Garryowen, capt), J Hayes (Shannon), M Galwey (Shannon), M O'Kelly (St Mary's College), S Easterby (Llanelli), K Dawson (London Irish), A Foley (Shannon). Replacements: F Sheahan (Cork Constitution), J Fitzpatrick (Dungannon), P Johns (Dungannon), T Brennan (St Mary's College), A Ward (Ballynahinch), G Easterby (Ebbw Vale), D Humphreys (Dungannon), M Mullins (Young Munster).

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