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Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Wales recall Halfpenny and Thomas for Scotland clash

RBS SIX NATIONS - WALES v SCOTLAND
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 13 February Kick-off: 1400 GMT
Coverage: Exclusively live on BBC ONE, BBC HD channel, Red Button and online, full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, live text commentary and score updates on BBC Sport website


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Gatland explains Wales team choices

Wing Leigh Halfpenny and lock Jonathan Thomas have been recalled to the Wales team to face Scotland in Saturday's RBS Six Nations match in Cardiff.

After starting against England in Saturday's opening 30-17 defeat, Tom James and Luke Charteris drop out of the 22-man squad completely.

Lock Alun Wyn Jones retains his place despite suggestions he could be dropped as punishment for his yellow card.

Prop Gethin Jenkins is named on the bench but faces further fitness tests.

The influential British and Irish Lions front-rower missed the Twickenham opener with a calf strain and must prove his fitness later in the week in order to displace Rhys Gill.

Hooker Matthew Rees remains sidelined with a groin injury, so Gareth Williams retains his place, despite the well-documented problems at the line-out where Wales lost five of their 12 throws.

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Rees will be reassessed this week but his hopes of featuring in the championship appear remote after Wales physiotherapist Mark Davies revealed he may require surgery to cure his injury.

In the wake of the England defeat, Wales coach Warren Gatland had suggested that Lions lock Jones could lose his place in the starting line-up after he was yellow-carded for a blatant trip on England hooker Dylan Hartley.

England scored 17 unanswered points while Jones was in the sin-bin, leaving Wales playing catch-up for the rest of the match.

Scrum-half Gareth Cooper has also survived following much scrutiny over his performance against England, with Richie Rees again on the bench.

The other changes among the replacements see a recall for 65-times capped back Tom Shanklin, while flanker Sam Warburton fills the void left by the adaptable Thomas's elevation to the starting line-up.

Danny Care breaks for England

Extended highlights - England 30-17 Wales

"Jonathan brings over 50 caps of experience to the tight five and offers us some extra mobility around the field," said Wales coach Gatland.

"Leigh is a recognised right wing who offers us an extra kicking option and his return to full fitness after limited training in the run-up to the England game allows his selection.

"We think we have a very strong bench with the right mix of players, each able to make an impact if called upon and are pleased to be able to name Gethin [Jenkins], although he will undergo further fitness assessments later in the week."

Wales are also tracking the fitness progress of scrum-half Dwayne Peel, who hopes to return from a groin strain to play for Sale Sharks at London Wasps on Sunday.

Gatland also received a boost last week with news that their other missing Lions scrum-half, Mike Phillips, could play for Swansea against Carmarthen Quins on Friday after a three-month injury lay-off with ankle ligaments damage.

Scotland will arrive in Cardiff having lost their opening game 18-9 at home to France on Sunday.

Gatland is expecting a positive reaction from his players, stressing that his side's title hopes are still alive, even if Grand Slam and Triple Crown dreams have been shattered for another season.

"We were all disappointed with the result last weekend but the good news for these players is that they have an opportunity now, just seven days after losing a game we all feel we could have won, to bounce back against Scotland," he added.

"The championship is by no means over and we are back home at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday looking to kick-start our campaign.

"This is a must-win game for us and the Millennium Stadium factor will have a big part to play, as will the fans, and we are all very much looking forward to coming home."


Wales team to face Scotland on Saturday, 13 February at the Millennium Stadium (kick-off: 1400 GMT):
Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), James Hook (Ospreys), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Gareth Cooper (Cardiff Blues); Paul James (Ospreys), Gareth Williams (Cardiff Blues), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, captain).
Replacements: Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Richie Rees (Cardiff Blues), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Tom Shanklin (Cardiff Blues).

Wales' 35-man Six Nations squad:

Backs: Gareth Cooper, Leigh Halfpenny, Tom James, Richard Rees, Jamie Roberts, Tom Shanklin (all Cardiff Blues) Dan Biggar, Andrew Bishop, Lee Byrne, James Hook, Kristian Phillips, Tom Prydie, Shane Williams (all Ospreys), Jonathan Davies, Stephen Jones, Martin Roberts (all Scarlets).

Forwards: Bradley Davies, Gethin Jenkins, Deiniol Jones, Andy Powell, Sam Warburton, Gareth Williams, Martyn Williams (all Cardiff Blues), Huw Bennett, Ian Gough, Paul James, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Jonathan Thomas (all Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate (both Newport Gwent Dragons), Eifion Lewis-Roberts (Sale Sharks), Rhys Gill (Saracens).



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see also
Alun Wyn feared for Wales future
09 Feb 10 |  Welsh
Scotland recall Parks and Murray
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Guscott criticises 'stodgy' Wales
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Gatland blast at Wales lock Jones
06 Feb 10 |  Welsh
Henson Wales return is 'unlikely'
07 Feb 10 |  Welsh
England 30-17 Wales
06 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 9-18 France
07 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
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Coming up next on Scrum V...
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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