Head coach Frank Hadden today named a 33-man Scotland squad to prepare for their opening match in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship against Wales at Murrayfield.
The squad will convene next Monday (26 January) for a three-day training camp and Hadden believes they approach the visit of the 2008 Grand Slam champions in good heart.
"I'm delighted by the number of players who are putting up their hands as genuine candidates for international selection.
"The victories of both pro-teams last weekend and the manner in which they achieved their results is also very encouraging as are our ticket sales to date with our home match against Ireland sold-out and now more than 60,000 tickets sold for our opening game against Wales.
"Momentum is vital in such a short round of matches so we know the importance of starting well and getting a big Scottish crowd behind us.
"Wales are the current Grand Slam champions. Their regional format is working efficiently and paying dividends. They are a settled, star-studded side and they proved with their win against Australia during the Autumn Tests that they are currently one of the best sides in the world."
Two members of the squad are uncapped: prop Geoff Cross, 26, who made his Scotland A debut in the November win against Georgia and was also on last summer's national tour to Argentina; and stand-off Ruaridh Jackson, 20, who has already represented Scotland A and Scotland 7s.
Scotland squad (sponsor Murray) to face Wales in the RBS 6 Nations Championship on Sunday 8 February at Murrayfield, kick-off 3pm
Backs - Mike Blair CAPTAIN, Ben Cairns (both Edinburgh), Chris Cusiter (Perpignan), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Thom Evans, Max Evans (both Glasgow Warriors), Phil Godman (Edinburgh), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Lamont (Northampton Saints), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison, Dan Parks (both Glasgow Warriors), Chris Paterson, Hugo Southwell and Simon Webster (all Edinburgh)
Forwards - John Barclay, Kelly Brown (both Glasgow Warriors), Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Scott Gray (Northampton Saints), Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors), Craig Hamilton, Jim Hamilton (both Edinburgh), Nathan Hines (Perpignan), Allister Hogg, Allan Jacobsen (both Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Northampton Saints), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester), Simon Taylor (Stade Francais), Jason White (Sale Sharks).
Scottish Rugby confirmed today that more than 60,000 tickets have now been sold for the Scotland v Wales match. Just over 7,000 tickets remain available for sale.
Tickets cost £30, £45 and £60 for adults and £15, £22.50 and £30 for under-18s for the match against Wales.
Tickets are also on sale for the Murrayfield game against Italy on Saturday 28 February (kick-off 3pm). Adult prices are £20, £30 and £60, while the concession prices of £10, £15 and £30 include full-time students as well as under-18s.
Supporters can buy tickets in three ways: via the 24-hour credit-card hotline (tel: 0871 200 1511); online via www.scottishrugby.org <http://www.scottishrugby.org/> ; or in person from the Scottish Rugby Ticket Centre, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. The Ticket Centre is open from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams looks back on the Rio Sevens success where he helped GB win silver. He believes the successful campaign is a huge boost to his Welsh squad as they prepare for another World Series, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
Last week all roads led to Eugene Cross Park where defending champions Ebbw Vale hosted this season's launch of the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie was there to capture the thoughts of Damien Hudd, captain of Ebbw Vale, and WRU Head of Performance, Geraint John.
Llandovery made it three in a row when they defeated Aberavon in the final of the National Foster's 7s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. On another eventful day of sevens, Newport claimed the Plate and the Dragons won the women's crown
Last week saw Cardiff welcome players from around the world for the 21st Golden Oldies Festival. The tournament features players over 35 years of age, and this year's event saw a select few represent the WRU in a 'friendly' against the Wooden Spoon.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.