Six Nations: John Barclay to lead much-changed Scotland v Wales

Scotland's back row: John Barclay, Ryan Wilson and John Hardie
Scotland's back row for the visit of Wales: John Barclay, Ryan Wilson and John Hardie
Six Nations: Scotland v Wales
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 25 February Kick-off: 14:25 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

John Barclay will captain a Scotland side featuring five changes for the Six Nations encounter at home to Wales.

Barclay, 30, is skipper in the absence of Greig Laidlaw, who misses the rest of the campaign with an ankle injury.

Ali Price replaces Laidlaw at scrum-half, with Sean Maitland dropping out and Tim Visser starting on the wing.

Gordon Reid is in for Allan Dell in the front row, while John Hardie replaces Hamish Watson and Ryan Wilson steps in for Josh Strauss at number eight.

"John has played a vital role in our leadership group and has led by example throughout this and previous campaigns," said head coach Vern Cotter of his new captain.

Ali Price in action against France
Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Ali Price comes in to the team to earn his third cap

"It was disappointing to lose Greig Laidlaw. However, we continue to develop a system of shared leadership in this squad, which has supported the transition. It'll be a proud moment for John and one which he thoroughly deserves."

The Scarlets loose forward took over the captaincy temporarily when Laidlaw sustained his injury in the gruelling 22-16 defeat by France in Paris two weeks ago. However, he had to be replaced after suffering shoulder and head injuries, from which he has since recovered.

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Six of the Best: Wales v Scotland

Barclay will be joined in the back row by Edinburgh's Hardie and Wilson, the latter having recovered from the elbow infection that kept him out of the France game and who replaces the injured Strauss.

Harlequins wing Visser gets his first opportunity of the championship as a straight swap for Maitland, who has failed to recover sufficiently from the rib injury sustained representing Saracens last weekend.

Six Nations table
PlayedWonDrawnLostForAgainstBonus PtsPoints
1. England2200403208
2. Ireland2101853726
3. Wales2101492815
4. France2101383515
5. Scotland2101434415
6. Italy2002179600

Since the Six Nations started in 2000, Scotland have beaten Wales just three times, the last success coming in Edinburgh in 2007.

"We know the Welsh will throw everything at us but we will keep our attacking mind-set and look to convert pressure to points as often as possible," said Cotter.

"The players have worked hard to prepare for this game and are really looking forward to putting in a top performance.

"It's a huge weekend in the championship and we're still right in the mix."

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Five-week Six Nations tournament would be "impossible" for players - Hogg

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tim Visser, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Tommy Seymour, Finn Russell, Alistair Price; Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, John Hardie, Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: Allan Dell, Ross Ford, Simon Berghan, Tim Swinson, Hamish Watson, Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett.

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