Glasgow Warriors' Ali Price has retained his starting spot ahead of returning scrum-half Greig Laidlaw for Scotland's Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff.

The former national team captain has not featured for his country since picking up an injury during the defeat to France in last year's competition.

Townsend's side begin their campaign at the Municipality Stadium on Saturday at 2.15pm.

Six changes have been made to the side that thrashed Australia in November's final Autumn Test, with Glasgow Warriors full-back Stuart Hogg returning to fitness and Chris Harris making his first start at outside centre.

In the pack, props Gordon Reid and Jon Welsh are included while second row Ben Toolis and number eight Corneell Du Preez also come into the team.

“We’ve selected a squad that we believe can start the NatWest 6 Nations championship with the intensity and speed required to win in Cardiff," said Townsend. 

“Last year’s championship highlighted that every game is a fierce competition and that all teams have to play at their very best to win away from home. Delivering that level of performance has been firmly in our thoughts during our preparations this week.

“We’re expecting a really physical game against a very good team. Wales have one of the best defences in the game and an attack that sees forwards passing much more and a structure that enables backs to get on ball.

“I’m sure it’ll be great occasion to kick off this year’s championship and we can’t wait to get started.”

Scotland XV to face Wales

15. Stuart Hogg VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 55 caps

14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 39 caps
13. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 1 cap
12. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
11. Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 2 caps

10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps

1. Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 27 caps
2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby) – 12 caps
3. Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons) – 11 caps
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby) – 7 caps
5. Jonny Gray VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
6. John Barclay CAPTAIN (Scarlets) – 66 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby) – 15 caps
8. Cornell du Preez (Edinburgh Rugby) – 5 caps

16. Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons) – 46 caps
17. Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
18. Murray McCallum (Edinburgh Rugby) – uncapped
19. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby) – 18 caps
20. Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 32 caps
21. Greig Laidlaw (ASM Clermont Auvergne) – 58 caps
22. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 28 caps
23. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 29 caps