Six Nations

Biggar primed for Scotland showdown

2016-02-12 09:00
Dan Biggar

Cardiff - Dan Biggar has recovered from injury to boost Wales as they look to continue their Six Nations dominance over Scotland.

The outside-half limped out of last weekend's 16-16 draw with Ireland after just 20 minutes with an ankle injury, but is fit to start at the recently renamed Principality Stadium on Saturday.

Biggar's recovery has allowed head coach Warren Gatland to pick an unchanged side as Wales go in search of their ninth straight win over the Scots.

Gatland said: "Dan had to get through today's (Thursday) training to be in the frame for selection, and he did that and looked sharp. He has made a miraculous recovery and the boys have been joking, calling him Lazarus.

"We feared the worst after the game when you saw him in a (surgical) boot and on crutches. We spoke to the medics who thought it was a three-to-five-week injury.

"But the scan came back clear and he has worked really hard since the game in terms of his recovery so it's great to be able to name an unchanged side."

Jonathan Davies will win his 50th international cap in the centre, alongside long-term midfield partner Jamie Roberts.

Liam Williams, an 11th-hour replacement in Dublin for the injured Gareth Anscombe, retains his place at full-back, but Anscombe has shrugged off a hamstring complaint to take up a place on a vastly experienced bench.

Rookie prop Rob Evans and flanker Justin Tipuric have also held onto their places ahead of British and Irish Lions pair Gethin Jenkins and Dan Lydiate.

Jenkins is one of only two players in the Wales squad to have lost to Scotland, who have not won in Cardiff for 14 years and arrive on the back of their worst run in the Championship - eight successive defeats - since the 1950s.

Saracens centre Duncan Taylor is the only change to the Scotland side beaten 15-9 by England last weekend, after Matt Scott picked up a quadricep injury in training.

Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour make up the back three, with the backs completed by flyhalf Finn Russell and captain Greig Laidlaw.

John Barclay, who plays his rugby in west Wales for the Scarlets, packs down in the backrow alongside John Hardie and David Denton.

Brothers Jonny and Richie Gray are the second-row pairing, behind the all-Edinburgh frontrow of Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and WP Nel.

"This group have worked exceptionally hard this week to improve their accuracy under pressure after a frustrating opening game against England," said head coach Vern Cotter.

"We created opportunities that could have been capitalised upon and converted into points. As a team we know we can perform better and believe we're capable of making improvements all over the park.

"We know that Wales in Cardiff will not be easy, but our focus is on improving our attacking and defensive mind-set."

The game will be played 'indoors' after Cotter agreed for the stadium roof to be closed. Under Six Nations rules, both teams must agree for the roof to be shut.

Gatland added: "Having the roof closed means the weather is not going to come into play. The atmosphere is going to be brilliant, with a sell-out crowd, and we are excited about it.

"By the looks of it, both teams want to go out and play some rugby."

Read more on:    wales  |  six nations  |  dan biggar  |  rugby


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