rugby

Scots welcome back Murray for Six Nations tilt against Wales

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Associated Press
3/5/2013 9:12:06 AM
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CARDIFF -- Scotland welcomed back a British and Irish Lions prop on Tuesday while Wales lost one for the teams' Six Nations match at Murrayfield.

Euan Murray, who played for the 2009 Lions, returns for Scotland at the expense of Geoff Cross after missing the 12-8 win over Ireland last month because the religious tighthead prop won't play on Sundays. The only other change to the Scots' starting team for the match on Saturday was Duncan Weir replacing Ruaridh Jackson at flyhalf.

Wales lost loosehead prop Gethin Jenkins after the 2005 and 2009 Lion injured a calf muscle in the 26-9 victory over Italy. Paul James is his replacement.

Flanker Sam Warburton, who captained Wales to the Grand Slam last season, and lock Alun-Wyn Jones are the other changes. Warburton has overcome a shoulder problem and comes in for Justin Tipuric but flanker Ryan Jones keeps the captaincy, while Jones replaces Andrew Coombs.

"Ryan (Jones) has led the team to two wins and deserves to captain the side against Scotland," Wales interim coach Rob Howley said. "We have spoken a lot about momentum in this tournament and we go into the game with two wins under our belt, but Scotland are in the same position and it's going to be a good challenge.

"It's disappointing for Gethin to miss out, but Paul has impressed and made an impact in each game he has played. We are bringing in a wealth of experience with Alun-Wyn and Sam, and they both performed well off the bench in Rome."

Scotland and Wales have both won twice and lost once to retain a slim chance of winning the Six Nation, but England is unbeaten and hosts Italy at Twickenham.

Scotland coach Scott Johnson praised the performance of Cross against Ireland.

"Geoff Cross was a standout against Ireland and it's up to Euan, who fronted up big time against Italy, to raise the bar again," Johnson said. "Wales will be going for their fifth successive away victory in the championship and that would be a record for them, but our focus is on ensuring we win the contact zone, continue to improve and make it three wins on the bounce."

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Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont, Matt Scott, Tim Visser, Duncan Weir, Greig Laidlaw; Johnnie Beattie, Kelly Brown, Rob Harley, Jim Hamilton, Richie Gray, Euan Murray, Ross Ford, Ryan Grant. Substitutes: Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Geoff Cross, Alastair Kellock, Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson, Max Evans.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Georgia North, Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton, Ryan Jones, Ian Evans, Alun-Wyn Jones, Paul James, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones. Substitutes: Ken Owens, Scott Andrews, Craig Mitchell, Andrew Coombs, Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams.

Greig Laidlaw (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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