Wales: Warren Gatland wields the axe as Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau all dropped for Scotland clash

Wales duo Justin Tipuric and Alun Wyn Jones Credit: Alamy
Wales duo Justin Tipuric and Alun Wyn Jones Credit: Alamy

Wales have made six changes, one positional, to their starting XV that will face Scotland at Murrayfield in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric are both absent from the matchday squad while Taulupe Faletau is dropped to bench duty for the Round Two clash.

Dafydd Jenkins will make his first start for Wales, partnering Adam Beard at lock, with the Ospreys’ Rhys Davies in line for his Test bow off the bench.

Wyn Jones returns at loosehead

Loosehead prop Wyn Jones returns having missed the Autumn Nations Series through injury while Dillon Lewis starts at tighthead with captain Ken Owens at hooker.

In the back-row, Jac Morgan moves to number eight as Christ Tshiunza starts at blindside flanker on his Six Nations debut. Tommy Reffell is at openside.

While Jones and Tipuric are missing from the forwards, the Wales backline remains intact from the opening fixture against Ireland that they lost 34-10.

There are four changes among the replacements as joining Davies is Dragons tighthead Leon Brown, who is in line to make his first Wales appearance since last year’s Championship if brought on as a substitute. Scott Baldwin, Rhys Carre and Faletau will provide the remaining forward cover.

Rhys Patchell joins Rhys Webb and Alex Cuthbert as the Wales replacement backs at Murrayfield.

“We’ve made some changes but tried to keep some continuity with the same backline,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“Wyn has been working really hard in the last three weeks in camp and he gets an opportunity. Then Dafydd Jenkins comes into the second-row, looking a bit to the future. Christ Tshiunza as well. We’re looking at options at eight if Toby Faletau picks up an injury who’s going to cover there, so Jac gets that chance.

“We thought we created opportunities last week but we weren’t clinical enough in terms of finishing off some of those chances. We need to start better. We gave away some stupid penalties and unforced penalties when we weren’t really under a lot of pressure so that’s again been an area that we’ve spoken about. We’ve tried to focus on the positives and the things that we can address ourselves.

“Scotland have some experience in that squad, so it’s going to be a great encounter and it’s a good test of the improvements that we can make from the things that we need to tidy up from last week.”

Possible debut for lock Davies

On second-row Davies potentially making his debut from the bench, Gatland added: “He’s a big man, physical man and he gets his chance.

“I was delighted with the players afterwards when we named the team. Obviously there were some changes, but I just thought the rest of the boys were absolutely brilliant in terms of congratulating people you know for Rhys sitting on the bench and for other players getting a start. To me that was a real positive in the squad.”

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Jac Morgan, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Christ Tshiunza, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Dafydd Jenkins, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Alex Cuthbert

Date: Saturday, February 11
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

READ MORE: Six Nations: Wales centre Joe Hawkins surprised by his rapid rise up the ranks

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