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Six Nations, Sport

Six Nations: James Hook to start at fly-half for Wales against Scotland

James Hook will start at fly-half for Wales in Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations clash against Scotland at Murrayfield.

Hook moves from full-back, where he started in the 26-19 loss to England last week, and wears Wales’ number 10 shirt for the first time since the 2009 Six Nations campaign.

He replaces 96 times-capped Stephen Jones, who drops to the bench after playing a limited part in training this week after taking a bump to his neck during the England game.

“Warren Gatland won’t be sacked”, says Roger Lewis

“James has a real opportunity to show what a quality player he is,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“There  is a certain amount of risk involved as he has not started a game at fly-half this season, but the decision was made easier considering Stephen has been limited in what he can do in the early part of this week after the bump he picked up early on against England.”

Elsewhere, Lee Byrne reclaims the full-back berth and former Wales captain Ryan Jones takes over from shoulder injury victim Andy Powell at number eight.

“The forwards were in a battle last week, but there were plenty of things that went right and we want them to go up to Murrayfield and give it a shot,” said Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde.

“Wales are the underdogs against Scotland”, says Shane Williams

“Our front five was an asset in the autumn and Craig Mitchell has come in and done well and helped give us a platform off the scrum and lineout.

We have talked about better execution and accuracy but largely we want the same again from the forwards with Ryan (Jones) coming back into the mix as well.

“Ryan has shown his true character after some setbacks in terms of selection and playing in different areas of the pack and he has come out on top.”

Wing Morgan Stoddart has been named despite breaking his hand against England, but he faces further fitness checks later this week.

On the bench, a sore hip sidelines scrum-half Dwayne Peel, so there is an opportunity for Scarlets youngster Tavis Knoyle, while uncapped Scarlets flanker Josh Turnbull also features.

Wales, without a win in their last eight Tests, have beaten Scotland at Murrayfield just three times during the past 20 years.

Wales team to play Scotland:

Team: L Byrne (Ospreys); M Stoddart (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys); J Hook (Ospreys), M Phillips (Ospreys); P James (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets, capt), C Mitchell (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys).

Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), J Thomas (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets), S Jones (Scarlets), R Priestland (Scarlets).


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