Preview: Scotland v Wales

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Wales travel to Murrayfield for the second round of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations this weekend to face a Scotland side high on their first win away at England in 30 years.

The Scots haven’t won at Twickenham since 1983 but a try from Duhan van der Merwe and the boot of Finn Russell ensured a 6-11 victory and got Gregor Townsend’s off to a dream start before heading back to Edinburgh for this weekend’s fixture.

Murrayfield is a stadium where Wales have had good success over the last few years, with five wins from the last six visits including the last time the men in red travelled north when tries from Josh Adams and Jon Davies, as well as the boot of Gareth Anscombe, put us just one win off the Grand Slam.

However Scotland can take confidence from their win last time the sides met in the Autumn when a Stuart McInally try and kicks from Finn Russell, Adam Hastings and Stuart Hogg secured a 10-14 win at a very windy Parc y Scarlets.

Going into this weekend Gregor Townsend is without three key men from the win at Twickenham as Jamie Ritchie, Cameron Redpath and Sean Maitland are all ruled out through injury, with Blade Thomson, James Lang and Darcy Graham their replacements.

Elsewhere the Scots are unchanged though, as they look to keep some consistency in their team selection after a famous win.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (c), Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, James Lang, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Blade Thomson, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson

Replacements: David Cherry, Oli Kebble, Willem Nel, Richie Gray, Gary Graham, Scott Steele, Jaco van der Walt, Huw Jones

Wayne Pivac has been hit even harder with injuries in the Wales camp with Dan Lydiate, Josh Navidi, Josh MacLeod, Tomos Williams, Johnny Williams, George North and Hallam Amos joining Jon Davies and the banned Josh Adams as being unavailable for selection.

In their places Aaron Wainwright joins the back row, Gareth Davies is in at scrum-half, Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin form the centre partnership and Liam Williams returns from suspension to start on the wing.

On the bench there are call-ups for James Botham, Kieran Hardy and a possible debut for Willis Halaholo, with the 23 otherwise unchanged.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Louis Rees-Zammit, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, James Botham, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Willis Halaholo

With the snow falling in Edinburgh this week it’s set to be a cold one at Murrayfield on Saturday but both sides will home to warm up quickest with the first 20 minutes so key in terms of establishing dominance and maintaining momentum here.

Defences are the strength for each side but Scotland have the x factor players while Wales have a makeshift backline. If Finn Russell can get going and get his team-mates moving then they may become an unstoppable force.

Wales will need to kick well, maintain possession to build pressure and take every available point on offer in order to stay in the game and potentially nick a win in a game where they are certainly not favourites.

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