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RugbyU: Scotland start Weir against Wales

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Glasgow fly-half Duncan Weir is set to make his first Scotland start after being selected to face Wales in the Six Nations at Murrayfield on Saturday by Australian interim coach Scott Johnson.

Weir, whose three previous caps all came as a replacement, impressed after coming off the bench in Scotland's hard-fought 12-8 win over Ireland last month -- a win that gave the Scots their first back-to-back Six Nations successes in 12 years.

Now he replaces club-mate Ruaridh Jackson, with the return of prop forward Euan Murray -- who missed the Ireland match because he refuses to play on Sundays due to his Christian beliefs -- the only other change to Scotland's starting line-up.

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

Geoff Cross impressed at tighthead prop against Ireland but British and Irish Lion Murray has been restored to the side by Johnson, with Cross on the bench.

Meanwhile, Ryan Wilson, the 23-year-old Glasgow Warriors No 8 who was man of the match in Scotland A's victory over England Saxons last month, is on the bench for the first time in a Test match.

Wilson replaces David Denton, who suffered a knee injury playing for Edinburgh against the Scarlets last weekend.

"Selection is tough just now but that's a good thing as we increase competition for places," said Johnson, promoted from within Scotland's back-room staff after former head coach Andy Robinson resigned following a shock loss to Tonga in Aberdeen in November.

"Duncan did well when he came on against Ireland and he got some decent game time for Glasgow at the weekend," Johnson, a former Wales caretaker coach, added. "He's a talent with a really good work ethic and a thirst to improve, which I like a lot.

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

Scotland are level on points with second-placed Wales, who were due to name their side later Tuesday.

"Wales will be going for their fifth successive away victory in the championship and that would be a record for them but our focus is on ensuring we win the contact zone, continue to improve and make it three wins on the bounce," Johnson said.

Scotland (15-1)

Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Duncan Weir, Greig Laidlaw; Johnnie Beattie, Kelly Brown (capt), Robert Harley; Jim Hamilton, Richie Gray; Euan Murray, Ross Ford, Ryan Grant

Replacements: Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Geoff Cross, Alastair Kellock, Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson, Max Evans

jdg/cw

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130305/rugbyu-scotland-start-weir-against-wales-0