Gregor Townsend hands Newcastle centre Chris Harris his first Scotland start for Six Nations opener with Wales
Chris Harris, the Newcastle Falcons centre, will make his first start for Scotland when Gregor Townsend's side face Wales in their Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Cornell Du Preez will start at No 8 while Ali Price has been named ahead of Greig Laidlaw at scrum-half. Gregor Townsend, the Scotland head coach, has made six changes from the side that faced Australia in November.
Stuart Hogg will start at full-back, while Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis and Du Preez come into the starting pack.
Townsend believes his starting XV are able to get Scotland's campaign off to a winning start, saying: “We’ve selected a squad that we believe can start the NatWest Six Nations Championship with the intensity and speed required to win in Cardiff.
“Last year’s championship highlighted that every game is a fierce competition and that all teams have to play at their very best to win away from home. Delivering that level of performance has been firmly in our thoughts during our preparations this week.
“We’re expecting a really physical game against a very good team. Wales have one of the best defences in the game and an attack that sees forwards passing much more and a structure that enables backs to get on ball.
“I’m sure it’ll be great occasion to kick off this year’s championship and we can’t wait to get started.”
Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.