Six Nations: Lock role for former captain Ryan Jones as Wales reshuffle pack

FORMER Wales captain Ryan Jones will take the place of banned lock Bradley Davies in Sunday’s RBS Six Nations clash against Millennium Stadium visitors Scotland.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has, as expected, moved Jones from blindside flanker to partner his Ospreys colleague Ian Evans in the second row.

And in a triple fitness boost for Gatland, flanker Dan Lydiate has recovered from an ankle injury to reclaim the number six shirt, prop Gethin Jenkins has shaken off knee trouble to start and skipper Sam Warburton also features. Warburton went off at half-time during Wales’ 23-21 victory over Ireland in Dublin four days ago because of a leg injury, but he has been named to pack down alongside back-row colleagues Lydiate and Toby Faletau. However, it is expected he will still be asked to prove his fitness over the next 48 hours.

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Davies, meanwhile, is sidelined until 26 March after receiving a seven-week suspension yesterday for foul play during the Ireland game, when he recklessly tip-tackled Irish replacement Donnacha Ryan.

Jenkins, despite being hurt on Heineken Cup duty for Cardiff Blues just 18 days ago, will win his 84th cap, taking over from Saracens loosehead Rhys Gill.

Gill does not feature in the matchday 22, with Paul James providing prop cover. The bench also includes 24-year-old uncapped Scarlets lock Lou Reed.

All Gatland’s changes are up front, as he retains the back division en bloc that caused mayhem for Ireland’s defence and conjured tries for Jonathan Davies (two) and George North.

Gatland said: “Gethin brings a wealth of experience to the team, which is the main reason we have brought him in for Rhys, who is unlucky to miss out, with Paul James covering both sides of the scrum from the bench. Dan’s return from injury is timely, and Ryan’s versatility allows us to cover for Bradley with minimum disruption.

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

Wales have won the opening two games of a Six Nations campaign on just two previous occasions – in 2005 and 2008 – and each time they went on to win the title and Grand Slam. Scotland, meanwhile, have not won in Cardiff for ten years.

Wales team:

15 Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff)

14 Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff)

13 Jonathan Davies (Scarlets)

12 Jamie Roberts (Cardiff)

11 George North (Scarlets)

10 Rhys Priestland (Scarlets)

9 Mike Phillips (Bayonne)

1 Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff)

2 Huw Bennett (Ospreys)

3 Adam Jones (Ospreys)

4 Ryan Jones (Ospreys)

5 Ian Evans (Ospreys)

6 Dan Lydiate (Dragons)

7 Sam Warburton (Cardiff, capt)

8 Toby Faletau (Dragons)

Subs: K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Ospreys), L Reed (Scarlets), A Powell (Sale), L Williams (Cardiff), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets)