Head Coach Vern Cotter has made two enforced changes to the starting Scotland side to face Wales at BT Murrayfield Stadium this Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
Glasgow Warriors wing Sean Lamont – the most capped player in Scotland’s RBS 6 Nations squad with 91 appearances – has made a timely return from the calf injury that ruled him out of the nation’s opening championship match against France, as a direct replacement for club-mate Tommy Seymour, who has not yet recovered fully from the hip injury sustained in Paris.
The second change sees London Irish tight-head prop Geoff Cross promoted from the bench in place of Euan Murray, who is unavailable on the Sabbath due to his religious beliefs, with Jon Welsh taking the substitute spot vacated by Cross.
Lamont’s inclusion brings a further two changes to the bench, with Edinburgh Rugby duo Greig Tonks – his first call-up since his positional switch and solitary outing at full-back in 2013 – and 21-times capped centre Matt Scott who, through injury, hasn’t featured for his country since the corresponding fixture last year, both coming into the squad at the expense of Peter Horne and Dougie Fife respectively.
Cotter said: “Last weekend’s performance, in terms of line-breaks and heart, was encouraging. We defended well and our lineout, scrum and defence stood up to a very stern French assessment.
“I’m pleased we were in a situation to contest the match throughout, but we left the paddock very frustrated and disappointed that we didn’t get more from the game – and I think that’s a good measure of this squad.
“There’s a huge amount of determination in this group to improve, with the challenge now to go one step further and deliver a winning performance for our home fans at a full BT Murrayfield.”
He continued: “The boys love playing at home.
“The fans were outstanding throughout the autumn and we’re looking forward to getting back out there, pulling on the jersey, rolling up our sleeves and having a good crack at a powerful Welsh side.”
Scotland team to play Wales this Sunday (15 February) in the RBS 6 Nations at BT Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 3pm) – live on BBC.
15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); 28 caps, 8 tries, 1 penalty, 43 points
14 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors); 91 caps, 12 tries, 60 points
13 Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors); 3 caps
12 Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors); 12 caps, 4 tries, 20 points
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby); 16 caps, 7 tries, 35 points
10 Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors); 6 caps
9 Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Gloucester); 35 caps, 3 tries, 37 conversions, 71 penalties, 302 points
1 Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby); 40 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby); 81 caps; 2 tries, 10 points
3 Geoff Cross (London Irish); 36 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
4 Richie Gray (Castres); 43 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
5 Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors); 9 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), 11 caps, 1 try, 5 points
7 Blair Cowan (London Irish); 7 caps, 1 try, 5 points
8 Johnnie Beattie (Castres); 35 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
16 Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors); 4 caps
17 Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors); 7 caps
18 Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors); 3 caps
19 Jim Hamilton (Saracens); 58 caps, 1 try, 5 points
20 Alasdair Strokosch (USA Perpignan); 43 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby); 1 cap
22 Greig Tonks (Edinburgh Rugby); 1 cap
23 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby); 21 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
Not considered through injury: Adam Ashe (neck), Chris Cusiter (returning from knee), Chris Fusaro (ankle), Grant Gilchrist (arm), Tyrone Holmes (face), Ruaridh Jackson (knee), Henry Pyrgos (knee), Tim Swinson (calf), Duncan Taylor (returning from hamstring), Duncan Weir (arm).