Scotland could face an experimental Wales in Cardiff on Saturday when the Six Nations Championship reaches journey’s end.
Amidst fall out from a Welsh defeat in England yesterday which cost them their title is a pledge from coach Warren Gatland that it might be time to spread his selection net.
“There’s an opportunity ... to look at one or two players. There have been players coming off the bench who have done really well,” said Gatland, adding: “Maybe they deserve a reward for good displays. We have been pretty loyal to players this campaign. We will reflect on it over the next 48 hours.”
Among those believed to be under threat are stand off Rhys Priestland and prop Gethin Jenkins while star full back Leigh Halfpenny is out for the season.
Any changes Scotland make will be due to injuries or a desperate attempt to get the team back to winning ways after falling short yet again in the 17-19 home defeat by France.
Definitely out are Johnnie Beattie (ankle) and Sean Lamont (knee) with prop Ryan Grant a doubt. Lamont’s absence is likely to see Max Evans promoted from the bench which could pave the way for the introduction of Dougie Fife to the match-day 23. The uncapped Fife has been in fine try-scoring form for Edinburgh.
Another uncapped colleague with increasingly strong claims is scrum half Grayson Hart whose slick service in the past three Edinburgh starts cannot have gone unnoticed.
Up front the loss of Beattie is likely to be covered by moving Ryan Wilson into the starting line-up. Coaches took a gamble on Saturday by including Wilson for substitute duty at the end of a week which had seen him laid low by tonsilitis.
However, the player responded well enough to his early call to justify another start with Al Strokosch’s ability to play on either flank likely to earn him a nod ahead of Chris Fusaro or John Barclay.