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Wales will be without George North for their match against Scotland in the Six Nations.
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Wales will be without George North for their match against Scotland in the Six Nations.

George North will not be able to play in the Six Nations match against Scotland on Saturday due to a shoulder injury. Despite being the most experienced player in Warren Gatland’s Six Nations team with 118 caps, the Wales centre sustained the injury during Ospreys’ win against the Lions in the European Challenge Cup.

Owen Watkin and Nick Tompkins will now forge Wales’s midfield partnership, with the Cardiff full-back Cameron Winnett handed a Test debut after 15 games of professional rugby. The 21-year-old features in a position vacated by Liam Williams’s move to Japan, while Louis Rees-Zammit recently quit rugby union to pursue a career in American football.

James Botham, who is the grandson of legendary English cricketer Ian Botham, has been selected to play for Wales for the first time since July 2021. He will be joined by Tommy Reffell and Aaron Wainwright in the back row.

Will Rowlands, who plays for Racing 92 and recently became a father, will not be playing in the upcoming match. Instead, Dafydd Jenkins and Adam Beard will be the second-row pairing for Wales. At just 21 years old, Jenkins is the youngest captain for Wales since Gareth Edwards, who was only 20, led the team against Scotland in 1968.

Gatland announced that George sustained a significant shoulder injury and was unable to fully participate in training last week. Therefore, Owen Watkin will be joining the midfield. Will has not joined the team yet due to the recent birth of his child in France. He has been advised to prioritize being with his family and will join the team when he is ready. The team recognizes the importance of family and supports Will’s decision to stay at home.

Rewritten: In Cardiff, Wales has won against Scotland 11 consecutive times, including nine Six Nations matches, a World Cup warm-up game, and an autumn Test. However, Wales is currently missing key players Rees-Zammit, Williams, Jac Morgan, Taulupe Faletau, and Dewi Lake due to injuries, and Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny have retired from international rugby since the World Cup in France.

Gatland expressed his admiration for Cameron Winnett, stating that he is a talented football player who has the potential to become a successful international athlete in the future. He also mentioned the positive aspect of having Alex Mann as a substitute and the possibility of him making his debut.

Scotland has not emerged victorious in this location for a considerable period, presenting us with a chance to maintain that trend. The roof of the [stadium] will remain uncovered. It is Scotland’s preference to have the roof open, although it may be disheartening from an atmosphere perspective as the closed roof tends to generate more noise and energy within the stadium. However, this is the decision that they have made.” As per the Six Nations regulations, the agreement of both teams is required for the roof to be closed.

Unfortunately, Blair Kinghorn will not be able to participate in Scotland’s first two Six Nations games due to a knee injury. As a result, Kyle Rowe will have the opportunity to make his first start for the national team against Wales. This means that Toulouse’s full-back, who is usually part of Scotland’s preferred back three, will not be able to play in the Cardiff match and the subsequent game against France. Additionally, the absence of Edinburgh’s Darcy Graham, who is experiencing tightness in his quadriceps, adds to Scotland’s challenges.

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Rowe’s first and only appearance for the national team was during a match against Argentina in July 2022. He was brought on as a substitute but unfortunately sustained an ACL injury after only 10 minutes on the field. This kept him out of play for the majority of the following year. The 25-year-old has been performing well for Glasgow, scoring seven tries, three of which were in his most recent two games before joining the national team. Kyle Steyn, who has just returned from a three-month absence, and Duhan van der Merwe will be starting as wingers.

Unfortunately, co-captain Rory Darge is still injured and will not be able to play. In his absence, Finn Russell will lead the team as the stand-off. Jamie Ritchie, who was previously the captain but lost the position last month, will serve as one of the vice-captains and will play in the back-row with Matt Fagerson and Luke Crosbie. Jack Dempsey, who was the main No 8 last year, will be on the bench.

After being replaced by Ali Price in the previous two matches of the World Cup against Romania and Ireland, Ben White, who served as Scotland’s scrum-half for most of last year, has returned to the team.

Source: theguardian.com