Thursday, 11 February 2016

Scott Ruled Out for Scotland

Scotland have made just one change to their starting XV for Saturday’s match with Wales as they prepare to bounce back from their opening Six Nations defeat to England.

The Edinburgh centre Matt Scott is ruled out with injury so Saracens’ Duncan Taylor takes his slot in the midfield.

The Scots will be desperate to kickstart their campaign in Cardiff after losing 15-9 to the Auld Enemy at Murrayfield last weekend but they will have to do much better than they managed on their last trip to the Principality Stadium. The Dark Blues suffered a record 51–3 loss to the Dragons two years ago.

Saturday’s match will be Taylor’s fifth start in 14 caps for Scotland and his first since the 2014 summer tour win over the United States, following a couple of injury-hit seasons.

Despite missing out on international opportunities Taylor, who partners Mark Bennett in the centre, 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 Scotland, meaning Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour make up the back three, with the backs completed by Finn Russell and the captain Greig Laidlaw.

The only other change to the matchday 23 is the inclusion of the veteran Glasgow wing Sean Lamont, who takes Taylor’s slot on the bench.

Scotland’s 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
S Hogg (Glasgow); S Maitland (London Irish), M Bennett (Glasgow), D Taylor (Saracens), T Seymour (Glasgow); F Russell (Glasgow), G Laidlaw (Gloucester, capt); A Dickinson (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), WP Nel (Edinburgh), R Gray (Toulouse), J Gray (Glasgow), J Barclay (Scarlets), J Hardie (Edinburgh), D Denton (Bath).

Replacements S McInally (Edinburgh), G Reid (Glasgow), Z Fagerson (Glasgow), T Swinson (Glasgow), B Cowan (London Irish), S Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh), D Weir (Glasgow), S Lamont (Glasgow).

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