Price is right for Scotland, Laidlaw benched for Wales opener

Ali Price is preferred to Greig Laidlaw at scrum-half for Scotland's Six Nations opener against Wales on Saturday.

Laidlaw is back in contention after recovering from a broken ankle, but the former captain has been named among the replacements for the first game of the tournament in Cardiff.

Price will make his ninth Test start at the Principality Stadium after building an excellent relationship with fly-half Finn Russell at Glasgow Warriors.

Gregor Townsend has made six changes to the side that started the hammering of Australia in November, with inspirational full-back Stuart Hogg and centre Chris Harris coming into the side.

Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis and Cornell du Preez come into the pack in the absence of a host of regulars.

Head coach Townsend said: "We've selected a squad that we believe can start the Six Nations championship with the intensity and speed required to win in Cardiff.

"Last year's championship highlighted that every game is a fierce competition and that all teams have to play at their very best to win away from home. Delivering that level of performance has been firmly in our thoughts during our preparations this week."

Scotland XV: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Chris Harris, Huw Jones, Byron McGuigan, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Gordon Reid, Stuart McInally, Jon Welsh, Ben Toolis, Jonny Gray, John Barclay (captain), Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez. 

Replacements: Scott Lawson, Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum, Grant Gilchrist, Ryan Wilson, Greig Laidlaw, Pete Horne, Sean Maitland.

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