Taylor to start for Scotland

Date published: February 11 2016

Scotland head coach Vern Cottter has made just one change to his matchday squad for Saturday's Six Nations clash with Wales in Cardiff.

The selection of 26-year-old Saracens centre Duncan Taylor in midfield is one of two changes to the 23-man squad – promoted from the bench to partner Mark Bennett after Matt Scott injured his quad in training yesterday – with Sean Lamont taking the vacated place among the replacements.

The match will be Taylor’s fifth start in 14 caps for Scotland, and his first since the 2014 win over USA (24-6), with an untimely succession of injuries curtailing his involvement for the national team over the past two seasons.

Despite missing out on international opportunities, Taylor has excelled for his club side, building on their Premiership title success last season with stirring performances in the current campaign.

All else is unchanged for the men in dark blue meaning Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour make up the back three, with the backs completed by Finn Russell and captain Greig Laidlaw.

The unchanged pack will again see John Barclay, John Hardie and David Denton in the back-row, and brothers Jonny and Richie Gray at lock, behind the all-Edinburgh Rugby front-row of Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and Willem Nel.

“This group have worked exceptionally hard this week to improve their accuracy under pressure after a frustrating opening game against England," said Cotter.

“We created opportunities that could have been capitalised upon, and converted into points.

“As a team we know we can perform better and believe we’re capable of making improvements all over the park.

“We know that Wales in Cardiff will not be easy but our focus is on improving our attacking and defensive mindset.”

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 David Denton, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Sean Lamont.

Date: Saturday, February 13
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 16:50 GMT
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: John Lacey (Ireland), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)