Wales v Scotland: North misses out as Gatland names two uncapped players for Six Nations opener

  • ITV reporter Matt Southcombe looks ahead to Saturday's game.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named his team to face Scotland at a sold out Principality Stadium in the opening round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 3 February.

Cardiff Rugby youngster Cameron Winnett will make his Wales debut in the Six Nations opener against Scotland.

The 21-year-old has played just 15 professional matches for his club side and two weeks ago boss Warren Gatland warned he was battling a jaw injury.

But in the absence of Liam Williams and the retired Leigh Halfpenny, Winnett steps into the No.15 shirt.

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."

Joining him in the back three is the vastly-experienced Josh Adams and speedster Rio Dyer.

Owen Watkin returns to the Welsh midfield for the first time since November 2022, partnering Nick Tompkins.

Scarlets half-backs Sam Costelow and Gareth Davies will also start. Corey Domachowski, Ryan Elias and Leon Brown line-up in the front row.

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Dafydd Jenkins will become the second youngster Welsh captain ever at the age of 21, behind the great Gareth Edwards, and he'll be joined by Adam Beard in the second row.

James Botham, Tommy Reffell and Aaron Wainwright are selected in a mobile back row.

There are two big absences in the form of George North and Will Rowlands. Centre North has not been able to train fully after injuring his shoulder on duty for the Ospreys.

"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," said Gatland.

Rowlands, meanwhile, is yet to arrive in camp after his wife recently gave birth.

Gatland said: "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."

Wales get their Six Nations campaign underway against Scotland on Saturday (KO 4:45pm).

Wales: Cameron Winnett; Josh Adams, Owen Watkin, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer; Sam Costelow, Gareth Davies; Corey Domachowski, Ryan Elias, Leon Brown; Dafydd Jenkins (C), Adam Beard; James Botham, Tommy Reffell, Aaron Wainwright.

Reps: Elliot Dee, Kemsley Mathias, Keiron Assiratti, Teddy Williams, Alex Mann, Tomos Williams, Ioan Lloyd, Mason Grady.

Commenting on team moral, Gatland said: "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.He added: "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."

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