|Six Nations: Scotland v Wales|
|Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 9 March Kick off: 14:15 GMT|
Ali Price is about to take over Greig Laidlaw against Wales and has increased in strength, states Scotland trainer Gregor Townsend.
The Glasgow Warrior beginning at a Six Nations match proved to be a nightmarish experience contrary to the Welsh at Cardiff in the championship of last season game.
But he has been plumped for by Townsend ahead of Laidlaw, that falls to the bench.
“Most players go through phases when things do not go so well for these,” explained Townsend of Price’s display in Cardiff.
“He had been playing with Glasgow and Scotland until there. He started within this fixture 2 yrs back against Wales (if Scotland beat them at Murrayfield). He started our wins home and away against Australia (when Scotland beat the Wallabies in Sydney and Edinburgh at 20 17 ).
“But he didn’t play as well for golf and country during this period this past year. He came back for us in his games. He helped us win those games also he’s begun this year in good shape.
“Physically he is in good shape and we have seen a stepup in his shape to Glasgow since November.”
Price coming for Laidlaw was first expected. Laidlaw struggled at Paris a fortnight past. Townsend has chosen for Price’s speed and dynamism and unpredictability in a bid to halt Wales’ march towards a Grand-slam
“We had just two weeks to reflect on why things didn’t work within France,” lasted Townsend. “The simple fact that we’re out of the tournament is a great time to find out if Ali helps the team to acquire.
“Ali is among the finest in the match at moving away the ball immediately, through their own speed and also by the validity of his pass. He has other areas too, also I presume his kicking has been good this season. Greig may play. A good deal of our moments at the Six Nations have already been at nine with him.
“It isn’t a reflection on how Greig is playing, it’s a reflection of just how Ali has already been going. Ali deserved an opportunity to start at a certain point and we believe this weekend may be the perfect time to do it.”
Townsend explained that Laidlaw was not able to miss out on a spot in the team and did actually suggest that the coming World Cup may see him bring down the curtain to his Test career.
He explained:”Greig is set to demonstrate he must be starting and he’s been very professional in the build-up. He’s still a leader and he gives leadership on the bench to us.
“We understand there’s really a big tournament on the horizon and we will see what goes on after the World Cup. Once the coaches reassess what exactly is their second challenge, that tends to be the full time when players reassess where they are. We understand Greig is made to play with his best and triumph for Scotland. He’s the only player who’s begun the last six games which shows how important a part of the squad he is.”
Wales are favourites to make it 1-1 out of 12 taking a second step towards that which could be a third Grand Slam under Warren Gatland and have won 10 of the last 11 games against Scotland.
“it is a game which we’ll do everything we can to win,” says Townsend. “We are out of the running for the tournament but we still want to play to our potential and reveal a true picture of what we’re capable of.
“It is our final home match of the season so it’s time we all delivered an 80-minute performance.
These learning opportunities is likely to make us stronger – as long as we put that into our performance at the weekend.”