Wales v Scotland: Adam Hastings a 'genuine' rival for Finn Russell - Gregor Townsend
|Autumn international: Wales v Scotland|
|Venue: Principality Stadium Date: Saturday, 2 November Kick-off: 14:45 GMT|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC One & S4C; Listen on Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, Radio Scotland; Text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.|
Fly-half Adam Hastings has exceeded expectations and can provide "genuine competition" for Finn Russell, says Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.
Hastings has excelled for Glasgow this season since Russell's summer departure for French side Racing 92.
And with his rival unavailable, the Warriors pivot, 22, earns his third Test start against Wales on Saturday.
"It's not so much Adam pushing Finn, it's Adam looking to get that number 10 jersey himself," Townsend said.
"He's now going to play two internationals in a row after Argentina in the summer and we'll now be looking for a response from Finn. We've seen that already from Finn this year. He's got a big game this weekend against Montpellier but it's a genuine competition for that jersey.
"Adam has been one of the form players in the Pro14 this year and he's really grabbed his opportunity for Glasgow."
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Hastings, who started Scotland's last Test - a summer rout of Argentina - has posted some of the best attacking statistics in the Pro14 this term.
The play-maker has beaten more defenders (25) than any other player and, having also started both Glasgow's European Champions Cup games, is only one appearance shy of last season's total of nine.
"He's worked very hard off the ball, he's got an outstanding engine and that means he has more involvements in the game and he's playing with confidence," Townsend added.
"His running game has come through this year more than probably both he and we expected. His game management is something that will always get better and better the more he plays in that position.
"His temperament, his confidence is what you want - looking to try things, looking to make things happen and being positive."
'Outstanding' Graham gets his chance
As this first of four November Tests falls outside World Rugby's international window, Townsend can only select home-based players from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Hooker Stuart McInally captains the Scots in Cardiff and is one of only four players to start against the Pumas.
Glasgow's Ali Price partners Hastings in the half-backs, with Blair Kinghorn starting at full-back.
Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham could win his first cap after being named on the bench having "impressed" Townsend in European Champions Cup matches against Montpellier and Toulon.
"I thought he was outstanding against Toulon and even in defeat at the weekend, he was the player who took the game to Zebre," the head coach said.
"He made nine out of 10 tackles, was very aggressive defensively and that's the mindset we need when we go to tough places like the Principality Stadium, so he has earned his chance to play international rugby."
Scotland's barren record in Cardiff
Apart from Kinghorn, who will start at full-back for the second time in a Test, in the absence of the injured Stuart Hogg, the rest of the backline is entirely from Glasgow.
Edinburgh provide six of the pack, with McInally - who leads his country for a second time - joined by club-mates Allan Dell and Willem Nel in the front row.
Ben Toolis is selected alongside Glasgow's Jonny Gray in the second row, with Grant Gilchrist on the bench.
Jamie Ritchie, 22, makes his second Test start, and his first at blind-side flanker, after his first caps on the summer tour against Canada and Argentina.
Scotland have not won on their past nine visits to Cardiff since 2002, and were thumped 34-7 by Wales in the opening game of this year's Six Nations.
Scotland's other autumn Tests will be played at Murrayfield and feature matches with Fiji (10 November), South Africa (17 November) and Argentina (24 November).
Scotland: Kinghorn (Edinburgh); Seymour, H Jones, Dunbar, L Jones; Hastings, Price (all Glasgow); Dell, McInally (capt), Nel, Toolis (all Edinburgh), Gray (Glasgow), Ritchie, Watson (both Edinburgh), Wilson (Glasgow).
Replacements: Brown, Allan (both Glasgow), Berghan, Gilchrist (both Edinburgh), Fagerson, G Horne, P Horne (all Glasgow), Graham (Edinburgh).