Scotland travel to Cardiff looking to end a miserable twenty-year gap since their last away win over Wales.
This fixture looks a fascinating watch given the team selections announced on Thursday. Hawkeye Sidekick reflects on the matchday squads.
Wales under pressure to deliver and this selection is evidence of this
Wayne Pivac has not spared the back row or back line in this team selection. We see three personnel changes in these units alone.
Jac Morgan (hot prospect) from the Ospreys win his first senior international cap and Ross Moriarty is recalled after coming off the bench against Ireland last weekend.
The three-quarter combination of Nick Tompkins and Josh Adams did not work last weekend as Aki / Ringrose were pivotal in Ireland’s attacking play throughout.
Adams is ruled out due to injury, but I wonder if this is more to do with the missed tackle count, pen count against the player instead of a tight calf. His yellow card at a pivotal point during the game was madness.
Owen Watkin will provide pace and skill set but I am surprised that Willis Halaholo was not included. A player who will provide go forward ball is just what Wales this week. Jonathan Davies is on the subs bench for insurance policy purposes, but it is an interesting starting call here.
The front five unit are lucky to retain their spots after last weekend’s showing in Dublin. It really does expose Welsh management’s thoughts on the bench replacements.
Elias will be put under pressure in the lineout. The props will need to improve their scrum set piece, otherwise this test match could go away from Wales rather quickly.
A team selection which is aimed to stoke a reaction. The hope is there but whether the cohesion and performance are for the front five remains to be seen.
Scotland looking for front five domination to win this test match
Gregor Townsend has announced five personnel changes to the side that defeated England in the Calcutta Cup contest last weekend. The entire front row is replaced with Schoeman, McInally and Nel all starting this week.
It is a big statement of intent. The front row and front five is vastly improved in set piece execution in my opinion. This is a direct challenge to the Welsh front five unit to improve or be taken to the cleaners for the second weekend in a row.
The news that Jamie Ritchie will miss the entire Guinness Six Nations tournament with a hamstring injury is a blow but with Sam Skinner, the Scottish side have a player well capable of providing the ball carrying and tackling capability to offset the loss.
Tweaks are also made in the three-quarters. Sam Johnson is dispatched back to Glasgow Warriors in time to face Munster Rugby on Friday night.
Sione Tuipulotu comes into partner Chris Harris in a rather physically formidable three-quarters partnership. Yet another direct challenge to Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin to deliver a performance.
Darge and Redpath come into the subs bench which includes the front row who featured against England last weekend. It all bodes well for Scotland in this fixture, but we have been here before. Remember 2019?
I expect Wales to front up and produce a performance but there are questions on several Welsh units here.
Scotland have named an aggressive front five and I see them laying the foundations for a long overdue victory against Wales by 7 / 10 points. Finn Russell to deliver some marquee attacking movements with a pack on the front foot early.