Scotland have awarded a first cap to 26-year-old Edinburgh tight-head prop Geoff Cross as they begin their 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship campaign against Wales at Murrayfield on Sunday.
Cross, a qualified doctor, who becomes Scotland's 1012th internationalist, is one of six changes from the team that started Scotland's last match, the 41-0 victory over Canada, with Hugo Southwell, Graeme Morrison, Sean Lamont, Jason White and Allister Hogg - who have 207 caps between them - all returning.
White, who will be winning his 70th cap, was introduced at lock during the Calcutta Cup win against England last year and has impressed in the boiler-house for his club Sale.
Ben Cairns, who made his debut on the tour of Argentina last summer, will make his first Six Nations appearance.
Scotland coach Frank Hadden said: "I have been referring recently to the growing strength in depth of the Scotland squad. The quality of the side we've chosen to play Wales is an excellent example of that."
On the selection of Geoff Cross, Hadden reflected: "Geoff first joined the squad during our tour of Argentina last summer and we have every confidence in him. Having waited patiently through five games, it's great that he now has this opportunity."
Neither Euan Murray (rib) nor Nathan Hines (knee) could be considered for Sunday's match. Scotland team doctor James Robson said: "They continue to make slow but steady progress. It's too early at this stage to give an accurate prognosis of whether they will be available for selection for next week."
Scotland team (sponsor Murray) to play Wales in the RBS 6 Nations Championship at Murrayfield on Sunday 8 February, kick-off 3pm
15 Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh) 14 Simon Webster (Edinburgh) 13 Ben Cairns (Edinburgh) 12 Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors) 11 Sean Lamont (Northampton Saints) 10 Phil Godman (Edinburgh) 9 Mike Blair (Edinburgh) CAPTAIN
1 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh) 2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh) 3 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh)* 4 Jason White (Sale Sharks) 5 Jim Hamilton (Edinburgh) 6 Allister Hogg (Edinburgh) 7 John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors) 8 Simon Taylor (Stade Francais)
16 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 17 Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester) 18 Kelly Brown (Glasgow Warriors) 19 Scott Gray (Northampton Saints) 20 Chris Cusiter (Perpignan) 21 Chris Paterson (Edinburgh) 22 Max Evans (Glasgow Warriors)
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.