Gatland Include One Uncapped Player In Starting Line-up To Face Scotland.

 

Uncapped Cardiff Rugby fullback Cameron Winnett has been named in Warren Gatland's starting XV to take on Scotland on Saturday in Cardiff at 18:45 (SA Time)

Cameron Winnett will win his first senior international cap for Wales having been named at full-back. Rio Dyer and Josh Adams are selected on the wings.

At 21 years and 60 days old on Saturday, Dafydd Jenkins will become the second youngest man to captain Wales after Sir Gareth Edwards. Adam Beard partners Jenkins in the second row.

Owen Watkin returns to the Wales starting XV for the first time since November 2022. He lines up alongside Nick Tompkins in the midfield.

Corey Domachowski (loose-head prop) makes his first Six Nations appearance, he is joined in the front row by hooker Ryan Elias and tight-head prop Leon Brown.

The back row comprises James Botham (blind-side flanker), who is making his first Wales appearance in more than two years, Tommy Reffell at open-side flanker and Aaron Wainwright at No. 8.

Gareth Davies starts at scrum half. Sam Costelow, also featuring in his first Six Nations match, is named alongside his Scarlets clubmate at fly-half.

Among the Wales replacements, back row Alex Mann could make his first senior international appearance this weekend if he follows Cardiff Rugby clubmate Winnett onto the Principality Stadium pitch.

Kemsley Mathias (loose-head prop), Keiron Assiratti (tight-head prop) and Teddy Williams (second row), who all won their first caps in the 2023 Vodafone Summer Series as well as Ioan Lloyd, who was first capped for Wales in autumn 2020, would join Domachowski and Costelow in making their Six Nations debut if appearing from the bench.

Elliot Dee (hooker) provides the remaining forward cover. Tomos Williams and Mason Grady are the other replacement backs.

Gatland said: “Cameron Winnett is just a lovely footballer and I think he’s going to develop into a quality international player in the future. He’s young and there’ll be no pressure on him. We’ve been impressed with the way that he’s trained. He’s done really well in training, progressed really well and following consultation with his surgeon, everyone was happy for him to be selected.

“It’s also great that Alex Mann is on the bench and will hopefully get his debut as well.

“I think there’s a really nice balance in the squad.

“We’ve got some players who were involved in the World Cup so have some experience and then some exciting youngsters and when I look at that forward pack, it’s not a small forward pack. It’s a big forward pack.

“Scotland haven’t won here in a long, long time and it’s an opportunity for us to continue with that record. The roof’s going to be open, Scotland wants the roof open which I think is a little bit disappointing from an atmosphere point of view, because when that roof is shut it does tend to create a lot more atmosphere and noise in the stadium. But that’s the decision that they made.

“The players understand how important this first game is in the competition. The sold-out stadium, go out there, you get the Six Nations off to a good start, you can create some momentum.

“I’ve been really pleased with their attitude and the way that they’ve trained this week and we should be really excited about this first game.”

On the absences of George North and Will Rowlands Gatland added: “George got quite a big stinger in terms of his shoulder and didn’t take part in full training last week so Owen Watkin comes into the midfield.

“Will hasn’t come into the squad yet. His wife had a baby a couple of weeks ago in France and unfortunately, there were some complications. So the message to him has been you stay home and be with your family. We always talk about how important that is and he’ll turn up when he’s ready.”

The duo have both featured together for Wales U20 before. With a further emphasis on youth, Exeter Chiefs' Dafydd Jenkins becomes Wales' second youngest captain of all time at just 21 years of age.

Wales: 15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby - uncapped) 14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby - 54 caps) 13. Owen Watkin (Ospreys - 36 caps) 12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens - 32 caps) 11. Rio Dyer (Dragons - 14 caps) 10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 8 caps) 9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets – 74 caps) 1. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby - 6 caps) 2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 38 caps) 3. Leon Brown (Dragons – 23 caps) 4. Dafydd Jenkins (c) (Exeter Chiefs - 12 caps) 5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 51 caps) 6. James Botham (Cardiff Rugby – 9 caps) 7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 13 caps) 8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 43 caps) Replacements 16. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 46 caps) 17. Kemsley Mathias (Scarlets – 1 cap) 18. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps) 19. Teddy Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 1 cap) 20. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped) 21. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 53 caps) 22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 2 caps) 23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 6 caps)