Jenkins returns

Gethin Jenkins returns to win his 84th Welsh cap, and face Scotland for the ninth time, as one of three changes to the side that won 23-21 in Ireland. [more]

Jenkins returns

Gethin Jenkins returns to win his 84th Welsh cap, and face Scotland for the ninth time, as one of three changes to the side that won 23-21 in Ireland.

The Cardiff Blues prop, who has also played in five British & Irish Lions tests on two tours, has recovered from a knee injury in time to take his place in the Welsh front row for the first of their three home championship matches. He replaces Saracens loose head Rhys Gill, while other changes see Dan Lydiate return to the back row and Ryan Jones move up to the second row to take over from the suspended Bradley Davies.

"I've done a lot of work with the physio over the last week and, even though I was on crutches until the Wednesday after I did it, I'm happy to be back fit," said Jenkins.

"It was a question of taking each day as it came and seeing how the knee reacted. The swelling went down quite quickly and I was able to get on with the tough rehab sessions I was set and get back to running towards the end of last week. It was a great pick-me-up watching the boys win last weekend and that has spurred me to get back quicker.

"It's not great watching games. I've had to watch a few over the last couple of years and it never gets any easier. But when the boys come off with a great win like they did in Dublin, especially in the last minute, you feel really proud of the boys and feel really chuffed.

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"One of the coaches told me this week that the last time I came back from injury I'd been out for nine months, yet I was able to play five games in the World Cup. It has only been two weeks this time and I'm hoping I haven't lost too much fitness and that I will be able to slot back in.

"I'll just get out there and get on with it. Your match fitness gets better with every game you play and I've played quite a lot of games this season since I came back and built up a lot of energy."

There will be no Lions front row reunion for Jenkins and his 2009 team mate Euan Murray because the game between Wales and Scotland is being played on Sunday. Murray's strong religious faith rules him out of contention for games on the Sabbath, but Jenkins doesn't believe the loss of Murray will weaken the Scottish pack too much.

"Scotland will have factored into their equation that Euan wouldn't be available this weekend, but I've played against Geoff Cross a number of times for the Blues against Edinburgh and he is just as good a player. Ideally, they would have wanted the continuity of having Euan in the side this weekend, but they certainly won't be any weaker," said Jenkins.

"Up front Scotland have some very good players – big players, which you need at international level. We know we will have our work cut out up front, but if we can play like last weekend, and our backs can carry on as they did in Dublin, then I'm sure we will be OK.

"There are no easy games in the 6 Nations. Last week you couldn't call our game in Ireland. We were always confident we could win in Ireland, but it was always going to be a close affair."

The return of Dragons flanker Lydiate is another major boost for the Welsh side as they seek to make it two from two this weekend. His timely recovery from an ankle injury means Ryan Jones can move up to start only his second game as a lock for Wales to take over from the suspended Davies, who picked up a seven week ban for a dangersous tackle in Ireland.

Skipper Sam Warburton and wing Alex Cuthbert have both recovered from the knocks that forced them to leave the game at the Aviva Stadium at half-time, but Warburton's replacement, Justin Tipuric, has been ruled out with a twisted ankle. The uncapped Scarlets lock Lou Reed comes onto the replacements bench, while Gill drops out of the match day 22 after being replaced by Jenkins.

“Gethin brings a wealth of experience to the team, while Dan’s return from injury is timely and allows us to use Ryan’s versatility to cover for Bradley with minimum disruption," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“We cannot afford to underestimate Scotland, the amount of possession and territory they had against England last weekend meant that they should have won the game. They will come to the Millennium Stadium buoyed by that.”

Wales (v Scotland, Millennium Stadium, Sunday, 3pm)

15 Leigh Halfpenny
14 Alex Cuthbert
13 Jonathan Davies
12 Jamie Roberts
11 George North
10 Rhys Priestland
9 Mike Phillips

1 Gethin Jenkins
2 Huw Bennett
3 Adam Jones
4 Ryan Jones

5 Ian Evans
6 Dan Lydiate
7 Sam Warburton (captain)
8 Toby Faletau

Replacements

16 Ken Owens
17 Paul James
18 Lou Reed
19 Andy Powell
20 Lloyd Williams
21 James Hook
22 Scott Williams

NB Bold denotes Lion
 

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