Cory Hill’s form for the Dragons in the Guinness PRO14 has resulted in him earning a first Six Nations start for Wales in the competition opener in Cardiff against Scotland.
The Wales second row has come off the bench twice in the Six Nations previously, but never started a game.
Hill is one of 13 Guinness PRO14 players in Warren Gatland’s starting line-up, which also features ten Scarlets players with the defending champions again flying high this season.
— Dragons Rugby (@dragonsrugby) January 30, 2018
SCARLETS DOMINATE SELECTION
In the absence of Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell has been rewarded for his good form of late with a start at fly-half, ahead of Cardiff Blues’ Gareth Anscombe.
Gatland said: “Both Rhys and Gareth have been training really well in the last couple of weeks so it was a tough call between the two of them.
“Rhys has started most of the games for the Scarlets at ten and we’ve been pretty happy with his form.
“It’s a combination of nine and ten in midfield as well. It’s a great chance from him and a good opportunity to have a Test start at ten.”
1️⃣2️⃣ Scarlets named in Wales matchday 23 for Saturday’s clash against @johnbarc86‘s Scotland!@LeighHalfpenny1 @ScottWilliams_1 @hadleigh_parkes@steffevs09 @rhys_patch @Gar_Davies9 @Revsprop1 @KenOwens1088
Samson Lee@aaronshingler @wynjones2 @aled009 #ynypac
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) January 30, 2018
Patchell’s partnership with regional teammate Gareth Davies at scrum-half is not the only Scarlets combination that Gatland is hoping to benefit from having named an entire front row from the Welsh side.
He said: “It’s nice to see Samson Lee back and playing well and fit again, so having that all-Scarlets front row, it’s about combinations and the familiarity that those guys have playing week in, week out together.”
Ross Moriarty is one of two non-Guinness PRO14 players in the starting XV, but he will be joining the Dragons at the end of the season, with Gatland excited to see the Lions back-rower plying his trade in Wales.
Gatland said: “He hasn’t had a lot of rugby, Ross, but we know what a quality player he is and hopefully he gets through 60 minutes and we’ll see some of his explosive ball-carrying.
“It’s fantastic that he gets a chance and great that he’s going to be playing his rugby in Wales next year.”
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