Bikes, back-rowers and big milestones – all you need to know about this round-two fixture in Cardiff

Six Nations Wales v Scotland preview

Before it gets kicked into the air above the Principality Stadium turf at 2.15pm on Saturday afternoon, the match ball for this Six Nations fixture will have been on quite a journey.

A group of 100 cyclists are responsible for delivering the ball to Cardiff, setting off from BT Murrayfield on Thursday morning to make the 500-mile trip. Their reason for pedalling from the Scottish capital to the Welsh? The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

Former Scotland lock Doddie Weir’s charity has raised more than £6m for MND research in recent years and rugby greats including Rob Wainwright, Martin Johnson, Colin Charvis and Mike Teague are getting in the saddle to make the journey and raise money. If you’d like to donate, head to the Doddie Cup 500 JustGiving page.

The group will deliver the ball ahead of kick-off for what is set to be an intriguing Doddie Weir Cup match between Wales and Scotland.

The Scots are full of confidence following their 20-17 win over England – their first back-to-back Calcutta Cup victories since the early Eighties – but haven’t beaten Wales in Cardiff in 20 years. In fact, they’ve only triumphed over Wales three times since August 2003.

Wayne Pivac’s side will be smarting having been comprehensively out-played, out-muscled and out-thought by Ireland in the first fixture of their title defence, but can they turn things around effectively in seven days?

The selection of Jac Morgan alongside Taine Basham suggests Wales will be looking to put pressure on Scotland at the contact area, and the visitors are unlikely to be as disciplined as Ireland last Saturday (the Scots conceded 13 penalties to Ireland’s six in the first round) so there should be more scope to gain territory and points from any indiscretions.

Gregor Townsend has shown faith in his scrummagers with a complete swap in the front row while Sam Skinner coming into the back row provides another impressive lineout option against a team that has shown frailties at the set-piece in recent Tests.

There are sure to be big collisions in the back-line, too, with Alex Cuthbert and Sione Tuipulotu coming into the respective line-ups, and it could be a game decided by one break, with Scotland proving last weekend that they can capitalise on minimal possession.

Of course, a year ago it was a red card to Zander Fagerson and some magic from Louis Rees-Zammit that saw Wales pip the Scots 25-24 in Edinburgh – a result that still stings those in blue. What will be the crucial moment this time?

Here’s what you need to know about the match with our Wales v Scotland preview…

What’s the big team news?

There are four changes to the Wales XV that lost to Ireland in the opening round. Two of those come in the back row, with Jac Morgan making his Test debut at openside and Ross Moriaty coming in at No 8.

In the backs, a tight calf has ruled out Josh Adams so Owen Watkin comes in at centre and Alex Cuthbert replaces Johnny McNicholl on the wing.

There’s another potential back-row debutant in the Scotland line-up with highly-rated Rory Darge amongst the replacements.

As for Gregor Townsend’s starting team, there are five changes to the one that beat England, including a completely new front row. Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally and WP Nel – last week’s replacements – swap places with Rory Sutherland, George Turner and Zander Fagerson.

Elsewhere, Sam Skinner comes in for the injured Jamie Ritchie and Sione Tuipulotu starts at inside-centre ahead of Sam Johnson.

Cameron Redpath is another notable inclusion amongst the replacements and is set to win his second cap, a year after making his debut against England.

What have the coaches said?

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac: “We expect Scotland to come down full of confidence. They’ve started with a good win. Across the board they are a very competitive and committed side that throws everything at every play. We know that’s going to be tough work for us and a big challenge that we’re looking forward to and are up for.

“The players are very critical of themselves and they’re desperate to go out there and prove we’re a better team than last week. We owe it to ourselves and our public to put on a better display.”

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend: “We should be better equipped to deal with the challenge of going to Cardiff. We’ve not been there for four years so a lot has happened in those years to this team.

“We’ve had some experiences against some top sides both home and away, and we’ve shown resilience in those games.”

Any interesting statistics?

  • While Scotland beat Wales at (an empty) Parc y Scarlets in 2020, they haven’t won at the Millennium/Principality Stadium since 2002.
  • Wales captain Dan Biggar will play his 100th Test – he’s played 96 for Wales and three for the Lions – and Jonathan Davies will do the same if he is used as a replacement. The centre has played six Tests for the Lions alongside 93 for Wales.
  • Grant Gilchrist will win his 50th cap for Scotland.
  • Three of the top four tacklers in round one of this year’s championship were Welsh – Taine Basham (22), Nick Tompkins (21) and Will Rowlands (17). Wales as a team were the top tacklers in round one.
  • Scotland made the fewest carries (78) of any team in the opening round of fixtures, while only Italy made fewer metres or passes than the Scots.
  • Wales wing Alex Cuthbert is playing his first Six Nations match since 2017.

What time does it kick off and is it on TV?

Wales v Scotland, Saturday 12 February, Principality Stadium

The match kicks off at 2.15pm and will be broadcast live on BBC1 and S4C in the UK and RTÉ2 in Ireland. There will be radio commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra.

Australia’s Nic Berry takes charge in Cardiff, with Wayne Barnes and Chris Busby as his assistants. Brett Cronan, also of Australia, is the TMO.

What are the line-ups?

Wales: Liam Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Louis Rees-Zammit; Dan Biggar (captain), Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Taine Basham, Jac Morgan, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Aaron Wainwright, Gareth Davies, Callum Sheedy, Jonathan Davies.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain); Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Jonny Gray, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson.

Replacements: George Turner, Rory Sutherland, Zander Fagerson, Magnus Bradbury, Rory Darge, Ben White, Blair Kinghorn, Cameron Redpath.

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