(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
Wales coach Warren Gatland has named his side to play Scotland in the Six Nations curtain-raiser on Satuday.
Worcester sensation Josh Adams will run out at the Principality Stadium for his international debut after scoring 13 tries in the Aviva Premiership this season.
The 22-year-old strengthened his case for a place in Gatland’s matchday-23 by scoring twice for the Warriors in their Anglo-Welsh Cup victory over Exeter Chiefs at the weekend.
Adams gets the start on the right wing after injury ruled out Liam Williams and Hallam Amos remains short of full fitness. Questions over George North’s fitness still remain after he was withdrawn from Northampton’s squad to play in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
These fitness issues mean Leigh Halfpenny and Steff Evans complete the back three at full-back and left wing, respectively. While in the midfield Hadleigh Parkes is preferred to Owen Watkin and Owen Williams to start at inside centre alongside Scott Williams.
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Rhys Patchell gets to nod to start at fly-half with his Scarlets partner Gareth Davies next to him, as the Welsh region comprises ten of the 15 starters to take on a Scotland side going from strength-to-strength under Vern Cotter first, and now Gregor Townsend.
Hampered by injury, Gatland’s one constant in selection regards the back row as Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi and Ross Moriarty all get the start after featuring in the Autumn Internationals.
Justin Tupuric takes his place on the bench in a squad that Gatland says should get Wales ‘off to a good start’.
“The first-up game against Scotland this weekend is really important for us and this is a great chance for this group of players to get us off to a good start,” Gatland said.
“We have been watching Josh (Adams) closely, he is top try-scorer in the English Premiership and has been going well and we are excited for him.
“Both Rhys (Patchell) and Gareth (Anscombe) have been training really well over the last couple of weeks. It was a tough call between them, Rhys has started most of his games for the Scarlets at ten, we are really happy with his form and the combination with Gareth at nine.”
In the last meeting between Wales and Scotland in Cardiff tries from Gareth Davies, Jamie Roberts and George North steered the home side to a 27-23 victory.
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Josh Adams*, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Cory Hill, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Capt), 6 Aaron Shingler, 7Josh Navidi, 8 Ross Moriarty
16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Owen Watkin
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