SIX NATIONS RUGBY: Former Wisbech schoolboy starts for Scotland

Hardie has replaced his Edinburgh team mate Hamish Watson who started in the No 7 jersey in Scotland's first two Six Nations games.

"By more recent tradition it is a game Wales win - and given the injuries that struck Scotland in Paris, their chances of breaking the Welsh run may have been sorely affected".

Scotland Women's winger Rhona Lloyd believes home comforts will help her side as they look to secure a 6 Nations victory against Wales on Friday night (6.20pm).

In terms of the back-row mix, Moriarty was arguably Wales' outstanding performer against England, while flankers Warburton and Tipuric have also been in prime form, so it is no surprise that Howley has gone for the same starting trio.

Despite their impressive 27-22 win over Ireland, the scrum has been a consistent worry for Cotter's side and with Halfpenny poised to punish any indiscretion from the tee, Reid's battle with Exeter prop Tomas Francis is hugely significant - something Reid is keenly aware of.

"Wales are a bigger team than us". It is an opportunity to build on the victory over Ireland on the opening weekend, when flair took them into a 21-5 lead and dogged determination delivered victory in the final minutes after they had fallen behind, but Scotland are in the unfamiliar position of having to deal with expectation.

"We were disappointed with our performance against France", he said.

Ken Owens is the Championship's most accurate throwing hooker - his 20 from 20 lineout success is rivalled only by Jamie George's ideal 11 among those who have thrown more than ten times.

"The most important thing is that the scrums where we have had to dig in, we have done all right. We are very confident the scrum will perform this weekend and put Wales under pressure". They talk of the competition as one of the last bastions of tradition, but there is no room for sentimentality in rugby, let alone an unwillingness to change.

"The players have worked hard to prepare for this game and are really looking forward to putting in a top performance. We just need to stand up for ourselves and stand up for Scotland".

"It was a bit overwhelming, but once I was out on the pitch I enjoyed it and during last year's tournament I just tried to learn with each match we played".

Despite the absence of Greig Laidlaw, Scotland should not be short of confidence going into this match.

Josh Strauss will miss the remaining games with a kidney injury so Ryan Wilson takes his place at number eight, and Tim Visser starts on the wing in place of the injured Sean Maitland.

  • Leroy Wright