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Warburton back for Welsh against Scotland

Published: 11:09AM Wednesday March 06, 2013

Wales recalled Grand Slam-winning captain Sam Warburton to the starting lineup for Sunday's Six Nations clash with Scotland, but retained Ryan Jones as skipper after two successive away victories.

Warburton, who started on the bench in the 26-9 win over Italy on February 23, after missing the previous round victory over France with a shoulder injury, replaces Justin Tipuric at openside flanker to join Jones and No 8 Toby Faletau in the back row.

Lions lock Alun Wyn Jones returns to the starting XV after injury, replacing Andrew Coombs, while Paul James takes over at loosehead prop from Gethin Jenkins, who has failed to recover from a calf injury sustained in the Italy match.

Interim head coach Rob Howley has named an unchanged backline for a match in which his team will attempt to become the first Wales side to achieve five successive away victories in the tournament.

"We have had two good, hard-fought away victories, but we know we will have to be at our best again to come away from Murrayfield with the result," Howley said on Welsh Rugby Union website.

"It's disappointing for Gethin to miss out, but Paul has impressed and made an impact in each game he has played.

"We are bringing in a wealth of experience with Alun Wyn and Sam, and they both performed well off the bench in Rome. Ryan has led the team to two wins and deserves to captain the side against Scotland."

Wales, who lost their opening match to Ireland before defeating France and Italy, are second in the standings behind unbeaten England.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors flyhalf Duncan Weir will make his first start for Scotland, after replacing Ruaridh Jackson in the squad announced today.

Weir, 21, who has won his three previous caps from the bench, is one of two changes to the starting lineup that defeated Ireland in the last round.

Lions tighthead prop Euan Murray, who missed the Ireland match for religious reasons, replaces Geoff Cross, who returns to the bench.

"It's a moment I'll cherish and hopefully I can do the coaches justice for giving me the start," Weir said.

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson said Weir had played well after coming on as a replacement in the 12-8 win over Ireland on February 24.

"He's a talent with a really good work ethic and a thirst to improve, which I like a lot," Johnson said. "Ruaridh remains a key part of our squad, but he knows with Tom Heathcote proving a match-winner for Bath and kicking goals from here, there and everywhere, that he needs to up his game too.

"Geoff was a standout against Ireland and it's up to Euan, who fronted up big time against Italy, to raise the bar again."

Scotland, who have beaten Italy and Ireland after losing to England in the first round, share second place in the standings with Wales on four points.

Scotland: 15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Sean Maitland, 13-Sean Lamont, 12-Matt Scott, 11-Tim Visser, 10-Duncan Weir, 9-Greig Laidlaw, 8-Johnnie Beattie, 7-Kelly Brown (capt), 6-Robert Harley, 5-Jim Hamilton, 4-Richie Gray, 3-Euan Murray, 2-Ross Ford, 1-Ryan Grant.

Bench: 16-Dougie Hall, 17-Moray Low, 18-Geoff Cross, 19-Alastair Kellock, 20-Ryan Wilson, 21-Henry Pyrgos, 22-Ruaridh Jackson, 23-Max Evans

Wales: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips, 8-Toby Faletau, 7-Sam Warburton, 6-Ryan Jones (capt), 5-Ian Evans, 4-Alun Wyn Jones, 3-Adam Jones, 2-Richard Hibbard, 1-Paul James.

Bench: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Scott Andrews, 18-Ryan Bevington, 19-Andrew Coombs, 20-Justin Tipuric, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-James Hook, 23-Scott Williams