October 31, 2018 / 1:34 PM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Rugby-Scotland prepared for battle as Hastings keeps flyhalf berth

* Four players retained from June’s 44-15 win over Argentina

* Back Darcy Graham could debut off the bench

* Scotland seek revenge for 34-7 Six Nations loss to Wales (adds details, quotes)

EDINBURGH, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Scotland have welcomed back a number of their season campaigners for Saturday’s international against Wales in Cardiff as rookie Adam Hastings will be given a chance to stake his claim for a World Cup berth at flyhalf.

Hastings, the son of Scotland great Gavin, will earn a fourth cap with regular France-based number 10 Finn Russell unavailable as the rare November clash between the Six Nations rivals falls outside of the designated international window.

It means coach Gregor Townsend has been able to select from home-based players only and will keep faith with Hastings, who made his debut in the June international series and started in the crushing 44-15 away victory over Argentina in Scotland’s last fixture.

Just four members of that run-on side have been retained as Townsend brings back the core of his experienced players, with hooker and captain Stuart McInally, prop Allan Dell and fullback Blair Kinghorn the others.

Aside from Kinghorn, the backline is made up entirely of Glasgow Warriors players in wingers Tommy Seymour and Lee Jones, centres Huw Jones and Alex Dunbar, flyhalf Hastings and scrum-half Ali Price.

By contrast, Edinburgh players make up six of the eight members of the pack, including the front row of Dell, McInally and WP Nel, lock Ben Toolis, and Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson in the flank positions.

Glasgow lock Jonny Gray and number eight Ryan Wilson complete the side.

Edinburgh back Darcy Graham earns his first appearance in a Scotland matchday 23 and could debut from the bench.

“We’ve had a productive two weeks, both in St Andrews and Edinburgh, and the players have worked hard to put our game into place,” Townsend said in a media release from Scottish Rugby.

“As always we expect a very tough Test match against Wales in Cardiff — a contest that will be physically and technically demanding in a noisy arena. It’s a challenge we look forward to facing.”

Scotland are seeking revenge after their opening 34-7 loss to Wales in the Six Nations proved a disappointing setback for a side that had high hopes of competing for the trophy, but in the end finished a distant third behind champions Ireland.

Saturday’s clash will be played as the Doddie Weir Cup in honour of the former Scotland lock who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease last year.

Team: 15-Blair Kinghorn, 14-Tommy Seymour, 13-Huw Jones, 12-Alex Dunbar, 11-Lee Jones, 10-Adam Hastings, 9-Ali Price, 8-Ryan Wilson, 7-Hamish Watson, 6-Jamie Ritchie, 5-Jonny Gray, 4-Ben Toolis, 3-WP Nel, 2-Stuart McInally (captain), 1-Allan Dell

Replacements: 16-Fraser Brown, 17-Alex Allen, 18-Simon Berghan, 19-Grant Gilchrist, 20-Matt Fagerson, 21-George Horne, 22-Pete Horne, 23-Darcy Graham. (Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Martyn Herman)

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