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Russell returns and Laidlaw left out as Scots bid to scupper Welsh Grand Slam

Racing 92 out-half Finn Russell is back after missing the defeat to France with a head injury.

FINN RUSSELL HAS been named in the Scotland team for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Grand Slam chasers Wales at Murrayfield [KO 2.15pm, Virgin Media One].

The Racing 92 out-half missed the Scots’ defeat to France after suffering a head injury while on club duty. Russell will form a fresh half-back partnership with Ali Price, who has been selected at scrum-half at the expense of captain Greig Laidlaw.

Finn Russell dejected after the game Finn Russell pictured after Scotland's recent defeat to Ireland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

In total, head coach Gregor Townsend has made four personnel changes to his starting line-up. Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham gets his first international start, while club-mate Willem Nel has returned from injury to form an all-Edinburgh front row.

Having started in the number 10 shirt against France, Pete Horne moves to inside centre to take the place of Sam Johnson. Sean Maitland is ruled out through injury, while Laidlaw and Simon Berghan drop down to the bench. 

“While there have been some strong moments in our games this campaign, we have yet to deliver that quality and focus for 80 minutes and play to our potential,” said Townsend.

“We have had a couple of weeks since our defeat in Paris to look at ways we can improve our performances, through what we do in training, our tactical approach and through selection.

“First and foremost, we select a team we believe gives us the best chance of winning at the weekend, while we also have an opportunity to reward players who have been in very good form and have been knocking at the door of the team in recent weeks – Darcy Graham and Ali Price especially.

“Greig [Laidlaw], having started in our last six games is a key member of our squad, although this week we have decided to utilise his leadership and experience off the bench. He is driven by a desire to win for his country and he should have an important role to play in the latter stages of the match at the weekend.”

The Scotland boss added: “They [Wales] have a very good record against us and are in excellent form. It’s a similar challenge to the one we faced last year against England, who had also been on a very good run of results in their preceding games.

“We rose that the challenge that day and found a way to win and I firmly believe we can reach that level of performance once again on Saturday.”

Scotland (v Wales):

15. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh)
14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors)
13. Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors)
12. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors)
11. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh)
10. Finn Russell (Racing 92)
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors)

1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh)
2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh — captain)
3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh)
4. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh)
5. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors)
6. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh)
7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh)
8. Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks)

Replacements:

16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors)
17. Gordon Reid (London Irish)
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh)
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh)
20. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh)
21. Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne)
22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors)
23. Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks)

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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