JT gets Wales nod

Jonathan Thomas has been drafted into the Wales starting line-up for the visit of Scotland to the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 2.00pm).

Thomas will partners his Ospreys team-mate Alun-Wyn Jones in the second row at the expense of Dragons lock Luke Charteris, one of two changes made to the team that lost at Twickenham last weekend. His involvement in the XV takes the number of Ospreys in the starting line-up to eight, with another two on the bench.

In the backs Leigh Halfpenny comes in for his Blues colleague Tom James on the wing.

Gethin Jenkins has recovered from his calf injury to be named on the bench and, in one of three changes there, he joins fellow Blues players Sam Warburton, who covers the back row, and centre or wing Tom Shanklin.

"Jonathan brings over 50 caps of experience to the tight five and offers us some extra mobility around the field," said Wales coach Warren Gatland.

"Leigh is a recognised right wing who offers us an extra kicking option and his return to full fitness after limited training in the run up to the England game allows his selection.

"We think we have a very strong bench with the right mix of players each able to make an impact if called upon and are pleased to be able to name Gethin although he will undergo further fitness assessments later in the week.

"Tom Shanklin returns to provide another 65-caps worth of experience as cover for the backs and Sam Warburton comes in as back row cover with JT now having been nominated as a starting second row."

Ryan Jones captains Wales for the 21st time taking him to joint fourth in the all-time list alongside Gareth Thomas and behind Rob Howley and Colin Charvis (22) and Ieuan Evans (28).

And fellow back row forward Martyn Williams reaches two more landmarks, winning his 93rd cap, to put him in third place on the all-time appearance list behind Charvis (94) and Thomas (100), and making his 49th tournament appearance - a Welsh record - putting him in line to become only the eighth player to play 50 championship matches.

"We were all disappointed with the result last weekend but the good news for these players is that they have an opportunity now, just seven days after losing a game we all feel we could have won, to bounce back against Scotland," added Gatland.

"The championship is by no means over and we are back home at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday looking to kick-start our campaign.

"This is a must win game for us and the Millennium Stadium factor will have a big part to play, as will the fans, and we are all very much looking forward to coming home."

WALES: Lee Byrne; Leigh Halfpenny, James Hook, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Gareth Cooper; Paul James, Gareth Williams, Adam Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Alun Wyn Jones, Andy Powell, Martyn Williams, Ryan Jones (Captain)
REPLACEMENTS: Huw Bennett, Gethin Jenkins, Bradley Davies, Sam Warburton, Richie Rees, Andrew Bishop, Tom Shanklin


15 Lee BYRNE (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,041)
DoB: 01.06.80. 6'3" / 1.91m. 15st 9lbs / 99kgs
International record: 28 caps (W 12, L 15, D 1; 35 pts - 7T)

14 Leigh HALFPENNY (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,060)
DoB: 22.12.88. 5'10" / 1.77m. 13st 1lb / 83kgs
International record: 11 caps (W 5, L 6; 43 pts - 5T, 6PG)

13 James HOOK (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,047)
DoB: 27.06.85. 6'0" / 1.83m. 14st 12lbs / 94kgs
International record: 38 caps (W 16, L 21, D 1; 214 pts - 7T, 34C, 35PG, 2DG)

12 Jamie ROBERTS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,057)
DoB: 08.11.86. 6'4" / 1.93m. 16st 10lbs / 107kgs
International record: 17 caps (W 8, L 9; 5 pts - 1T)

11 Shane WILLIAMS (OSPREYS - Cap No 976)
DoB: 26.02.77. 5'7" / 1.71m. 12st 13lbs / 82kgs
International record: 69 caps (W 33, L 34, D 2; 240 pts - 48T)

10 Stephen JONES (SCARLETS - Cap No 966)
DoB: 08.12.77. 6'1" / 1.86m. 14st 12lbs / 94kgs
International record: 84 caps (W37, L45, D2; 738 pts - 7T, 122C, 148PG, 5DG)

9 Gareth COOPER (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 985)
DoB: 07.05.79. 5'7" / 1.71m. 13st 6lbs / 85kgs
International record: 45 caps (W 21, L 24; 45 pts - 9T)

1 Paul JAMES (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,021)
DoB: 13.05.82. 6'1" / 1.86m. 17st 7lbs / 111kgs
International record: 6 caps (W 3, L 3)

2 Gareth WILLIAMS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,010)
DoB: 19.12.78. 5'8" / 1.73m. 15st 4lbs / 97kgs
International record: 8 caps (W 2, L 6)

3 Adam Rhys JONES (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,018)
DoB: 08.03.81. 6'0" / 1.83m. 19st 10lb / 125kgs
International record: 57 caps (W 29, L 26, D 2; 10 pts - 2T)

4 Jonathan THOMAS (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,013)
DoB: 27.12.82. 6'5" / 1.96m. 17st 5lbs / 110kgs
International record: 51 caps (W 25, L 24, D 2; 35 pts - 7T)

5 Alun-Wyn JONES (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,046)
DoB: 19.09.85. 6'5" / 1.96m. 19st 1lbs / 121kgs
International record: 36 caps (W 15, L 21; 20 pts - 4T)

6 Andy POWELL (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,061)
DoB: 23.08.81. 6'4" / 1.94m. 17st 6lbs / 111kgs
International record: 13 caps (W 7, L 6)

7 Martyn WILLIAMS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 944)
DoB: 01.09.75. 6'0" / 1.83m. 15st 11lbs / 100kgs
International record: 92 caps (W 42, L 47, D 3; 73 pts - 14T, 1DG)

8 Ryan JONES (OSPREYS, CAPTAIN - Cap No 1,029)
DoB: 13.03.81. 6'5" / 1.96m. 18st 0lbs / 114kgs
International record: 37 caps (W 21, L 15, D 1; 5 pts - 1T)


16 Huw BENNETT (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,017)
DoB: 11.06.83. 6'0" / 1.83m. 17st 0lbs / 108kgs
International record: 28 caps (W 16, L 12)

17 Gethin JENKINS (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,006)
DoB: 17.11.80. 6'2" / 1.88m. 18st 13lbs / 120kgs
International record: 72 caps (W 31, L 39, D 2; 15 pts - 3T)

18 Bradley DAVIES (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,065)
DoB: 09.01.87. 6'6" / 1.98m. 18st 1lb / 115kgs
International record: 6 caps (W 4, L 2)

DoB: 05.10.88. 1.88m / 6'2". 15st 9lbs / 99kgs
International record: 3 caps (W 2, L 1)

20 Richard REES (CARDIFF BLUES - Cap No 1,072)
DoB: 21.05.83. 5'11" / 1.80m. 13st 1lb / 83kgs
International record: 1 cap (L 1)

21 Andrew BISHOP (OSPREYS - Cap No 1,059)
DoB: 07.08.85. 6'0" / 1.83m. 15st 0lbs / 95kgs
International record: 8 caps (W 6, L 2)

DoB: 24.11.79. 6'2" / 1.88m. 15st 9lbs / 99kgs
International record: 65 caps (W 31, L 33, D 1; 100 pts - 20T)

Meanwhile, Wales Under 20 head coach Phil Davies has kept faith with the side that faced England last Friday for his side's first home fixture of the Under 20 Six Nations, against Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park (Friday, 7.10pm).

There is just one enforced change in the starting line-up with lock James King ruled out of the rest of the Championship after sustaining a knee injury in the 41-14 defeat to England. He will be replaced in the starting line-up by fellow Ospreys and Aberavon lock Lloyd Peers with Dragons and Ebbw Vale flanker Rhys Jenkins coming onto the replacements bench along with prop Rhodri Jones and outside half Steve Shingler who replace fellow Scarlets Trystan Davies and Lee Rees respectively.

Davies said, "We were pleased with the character of the team against England and it is important to keep continuity in selection in order to build a team performance.

"We need to build on the performance we produced in the first half against England and play strongly for eighty minutes. We lost narrowly to Scotland last season but a lot of our players would have taken a lot from that game and progressed a great deal in the past year.

"We have been working hard in training this week and we will be looking for players to show an ability to recognise running opportunities in attack and a strong defensive display."

Tickets for Wales Under 20 home games, at Cardiff Arms Park, are available now from £5 for children and £10 for adults. Tickets are on sale at the Cardiff Arms cafe / store, no 8 Westgate Street, online via www.wru.co.uk /tickets and from Ticketweb on tel 08444 771000. Tickets are also on sale at Cardiff Arms Park shop 10am - 3pm until Thursday and all day Friday.

Wales U20 v Scotland (Friday 12 February, Cardiff Arms Park, 7.10pm)

Dan Fish (Blues); James Loxton (Blues), Owen Williams (Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Kristian Phillips (Ospreys); Matthew Jarvis (Ospreys), Rhys Downes (Blues); Dan Watchurst (capt, Dragons), Rhys Williams (Blues), Simon Gardiner (Scarlets), Macauley Cook (Blues), Lloyd Peers (Ospreys), James Thomas (Dragons), Josh Navidi (Blues), Morgan Allen (Pontypool)

Replacements: Ieuan Davies (Glamorgan Wanderers), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Rhys Jenkins (Dragons), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Steve Shingler (Scarlets), Matthew Pewtner (Dragons). Travelling reserve: Lee Rees (Scarlets)