Chiefs duo start for Scotland
By Mark Stevens
Sam Skinner is one of three changes Scotland Head Coach has made to his starting team for this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations finale against Wales in Cardiff (2.15pm).
The Exeter Chiefs forward comes in for his first start in this year's Championship, replacing Glasgow's Scott Cummings in the second row alongside Grant Gilchrist.
Hooker and vice-captain Stuart McInally also returns at the expense of Fraser Brown, while No.8 8 Magnus Bradbury is promoted from the bench with Nick Haining unavailable through illness.
The entire back division earns selection for a third Test in a row, meaning Skinner's Exeter club-mate, Stuart Hogg, again skippers the side from full-back.
Saturday's fixture will also see Hogg move into joint seventh place on Scotland’s all-time appearance list, overtaking recently retired former skippers Greig Laidlaw and John Barclay to join Jason White and Nathan Hines on 77 caps.
Townsend, said: “We set out this season to improve our consistency over a run of five tough games, something we have done well so far. We’ve stayed in the fight in every game, which is a credit to how hard the players have worked in training and during the Tests.
“It’s also been encouraging to see how well the players have grown together and have taken on board the input from new coaches, Steve (Tandy) and Pieter (de Villiers), who have done a great job in their first season with the team.
“We’ve still got a lot to improve on and we’ll have to fight even harder on Saturday in Cardiff, which is one of the best and toughest places to play Test rugby.”
He added: “We have huge respect for the Welsh team, who narrowly missed out on a World Cup Final a few months ago. They are well coached and have some outstanding players. It will be a fantastic occasion and one last opportunity to play to our potential in this championship.”
Scotland team to play Wales
15. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, capt, 76 caps)
14. Sean Maitland (Saracens, 48 caps)
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester, 18 caps)
12. Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors, 13 caps)
11. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh, 21 caps)
10. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors, 20 caps)
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, 32 caps)
1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh, 7 caps)
2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh, 37 caps)
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, 29 caps)
4. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh, 42 caps)
6. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh, 18 caps)
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh, 32 caps)
8. Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh, 14 caps)
16. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors, 50 caps)
17. Allan Dell (London Irish, 32 caps)
18. Willem Nel (Edinburgh, 38 caps)
19. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors, 12 caps)
20. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, 6 caps)
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors, 13 caps)
22. Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors, 28 caps)
23. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors, 1 cap)