Rob Howley Picks George North But Says “Position Of Strength” Means Taulupe Faletau Stays On Bench

George North has been restored to the Wales team to face Scotland, but Taulupe Faletau remains on the bench.

Coach Rob Howley made an early team announcement on Wednesday – 24 hours ahead of his schedule – and has opted to bring back fit-again North, but keep faith with Ross Moriarty at No.8 in preference to Faletau.

Alex Cuthbert – who was drafted in for North late on for the defeat to England – has been left out of the squad for Murrayfield on Saturday, with Luke Charteris also returning to the bench in place of Cory Hill.

Dan Biggar retain his place at No.10, with his Ospreys teammate Sam Davies staying mong the replacements.

It means just one change from the team that lost for the first time in this Six Nations, following their opening victory over Italy.

Howley said: “We have been able to select from a position of strength which is a huge positive and it is good to welcome George (North) back into the starting XV and Luke (Charteris) on to the bench.
“In terms of intensity and performance, we stepped up a level against England and we need to take the positives from that performance and take it into 80 minutes against Scotland at Murrayfield.
“We know what we are capable of and we want to deliver that on Saturday alongside the result, which international rugby is all about.”
North – who suffered a thigh injury in Rome – comes back into the side and lines-up in the back-three alongside Liam Williams and full-back Leigh Halfpenny.
Scarlets centre duo Scott Williams and Jonathan Davies continue their partnership as do Ospreys pair Rhys Webb and Biggar at half-back.
Wales name an unchanged pack for the trip to Edinburgh with Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis packing down in the front-row and Jake Ball and Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.
Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and Moriarty make up the unchanged back-row.
On the bench there is just one change with Charteris returning to the matchday squad.  He joins fellow forwards on the bench Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith, Samson Lee and Faletau.  Gareth Davies, Sam Davies and Jamie Roberts provide the backline cover.

 

WALES TEAM TO PLAY SCOTLAND:
Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) (68 Caps)
George North (Northampton Saints) (66 Caps)
Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (61 Caps)
Scott Williams (Scarlets) (43 Caps)
Liam Williams (Scarlets) (40 Caps)
Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (53 Caps)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys) (25 Caps)
Rob Evans (Scarlets) (14 Caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets) (47 Caps)
Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (19 Caps)
Jake Ball (Scarlets) (23 Caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)(107 Caps) (CAPTAIN)
Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues) (71 Caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (48 Caps)
Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby) (14 Caps)

Replacements:
Scott Baldwin (Ospreys) (30 Caps)
Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (9 Caps)
Samson Lee (Scarlets) (31 Caps)
Luke Charteris (Bath) (71 Caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (63 Caps)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (23 Caps)
Sam Davies (Ospreys) (4 Caps)
Jamie Roberts (Harlequins) (88 Caps)

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