Jones fills Davies void for Wales
February 9, 2012
Flanker Dan Lydiate has been passed fit to face the Scots in Cardiff © Getty Images
Wales coach Warren Gatland has, as expected, moved Jones from blindside flanker to partner his Ospreys colleague Ian Evans in the second row. And in a triple fitness boost for Gatland, flanker Dan Lydiate has recovered from an ankle injury to reclaim the number six shirt, prop Gethin Jenkins has shaken off knee trouble to start and skipper Sam Warburton also features.
Warburton went off at half-time during Wales' dramatic 23-21 victory over Ireland in Dublin four days ago because of a leg injury, but he has been named to pack down alongside back-row colleagues Lydiate and Toby Faletau. Davies, meanwhile, is sidelined until March 26 after receiving a seven-week suspension yesterday for foul play during the Ireland game, when he recklessly tip-tackled Irish replacement Donnacha Ryan.
Jenkins, despite being hurt while on Heineken Cup duty for Cardiff Blues just 18 days ago, will win his 84th cap, taking over from Saracens loose-head Rhys Gill. Gill does not feature in the matchday 22, with Paul James providing prop cover. The bench also includes 24-year-old uncapped Scarlets lock Lou Reed.
All Gatland's changes are up front, as he predictably retains the back division en bloc that caused mayhem for Ireland's defence and conjured tries for Jonathan Davies (two) and George North.
Gatland said: "Gethin brings a wealth of experience to the team, which is the main reason we have brought him in for Rhys, who is unlucky to miss out, with Paul James covering both sides of the scrum from the bench. Dan's return from injury is timely, and Ryan's versatility allows us to cover for Bradley with minimum disruption, with Lou Reed also giving us an extra option from the bench. We cannot afford to underestimate Scotland.
"The amount of possession and territory they had against England last weekend meant that they should have won the game, and they will come to the Millennium Stadium buoyed by that knowledge."
Wales have won the opening two games of a Six Nations campaign on just two previous occasions - in 2005 and 2008 - and each time they went on to win the title and Grand Slam. Scotland, meanwhile, have not won in Cardiff for 10 years.
Wales: L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), H Bennett (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Ospreys), L Reed (Scarlets), A Powell (Sale Sharks), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland