Six Nations 2024: Kyle Rowe starts for Scotland against Wales, with Blair Kinghorn injured

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Kyle Rowe training with Scotland
Rowe will make his first Scotland start at the Principality Stadium
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 3 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru & live text on the BBC Sport website and app.

Head coach Gregor Townsend believes confidence can compensate for a lack of experience at full-back as Kyle Rowe prepares for his first Scotland start in Saturday’s Six Nations opener.

Winger Rowe fills in for injured Blair Kinghorn against Wales in Cardiff.

“Kyle has covered full-back for Glasgow and he’s trained there for us,” said Townsend.

“We are pleased with his form and see him as someone who is very comfortable in that position.”

Rowe, a 25-year-old former Sevens international, has featured just once for Scotland before, as a replacement on the 2022 tour of Argentina.

His debut lasted only 12 minutes as a damaged ACL resulted in him being sidelined for most of the following year.

He has scored seven tries for Glasgow Warriors this season.

“It’s really important we have players playing with confidence coming into such a big fixture,” added Townsend, who is expecting Toulouse’s Kinghorn to miss the first two games of the tournament, along with Edinburgh winger Darcy Graham.

Star fly-half Finn Russell leads the team, with co-captain Rory Darge not quite recovered from a knee problem.

Former captain Jamie Ritchie retains his place and is joined in the back row by Luke Crosbie and Matt Fagerson.

“It’s been a real positive reaction to the challenge,” said Townsend of Ritchie. “He’s just gone out and trained really well.

“Part of the reason he is no longer captain is not so much his performances but the performances of others. We have so much competition in the back row. It wasn’t guaranteed he’d be in the starting team.

“But we know how well he has played for Scotland and we believe he’s getting back to that form.”

Richie Gray, 34, plays in his 11th championship beside second row partner Scott Cummings as Grant Gilchrist serves a suspension.

Props Alec Hepburn (loose-head) and Elliot Millar-Mills (tight-head) are set for debuts from the bench.

Scotland, who finished third with three wins in 2023, are seeking a first victory in Cardiff in 22 years, with their 2020 success coming in Llanelli.

“We have talked about the record and the fact we have to do something about it,” said Townsend. “And we have also talked about embracing the challenge that playing in this stadium against a very passionate side brings. But most of our focus is on ourselves.”

Scotland: Rowe, Steyn, Jones, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe, Russell, White; Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, R Gray, Cummings, Crosbie, Ritchie, M Fagerson.

Replacements: Ashman, Hepburn, Millar-Mills, Skinner, Dempsey, Horne, Healy, Redpath.