Six Nations 2018: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend faces dilemma at scrum-half

Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw
Greig Laidlaw has not played for Scotland since the 22-16 Six Nations loss to France in February

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend faces a tough decision choosing his starting scrum-half for the opening Six Nations game against Wales, according to assistant coach Mike Blair.

Greig Laidlaw returns from injury to join Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos and Nathan Fowles as options for Saturday's game.

"It's a great position to be in. Greig had 10 minutes last week off the bench, ahead of schedule," Blair said.

"He's ready to go, but Ali also had a fantastic autumn series with us."

Price, the Glasgow Warriors scrum-half, started all three of Scotland's autumn Tests, against Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.

Scotland scrum-half Ali Price
Ali Price started all three of Scotland's Autumn Tests, including against Australia at Murrayfield

Laidlaw has not played a Test match for almost a year after breaking his leg playing for Clermont in the European Champions Cup.

He came on as a replacement as Clermont defeated Ospreys then started as the French side lost by one point to Montpellier this weekend.

Blair is adamant that Laidlaw will be fit enough to contribute when Scotland travel to Cardiff for Saturday's Six Nations opener.

"If you've been out for a long time, you're concerned about fitness, but Greig's in great shape," Blair said. "It's a good situation to be in for us.

"A lot of what was good about our game was with the tempo that [Price] was able to bring in his passing and running game.

Glasgow Warriors and Scotland's Henry Pyrgos
Glasgow's Henry Pyrgos is another option at scrum-half for coach Gregor Townsend

"Obviously we also have Nathan and Henry here and they are not just here to make up the numbers, they are competitive in training."

John Barclay has retained the captaincy - a role he took on when Laidlaw was injured - but Blair believes Laidlaw's leadership is an important quality that could be important to secure his place in the starting XV.

"Greig is one of the most competitive guys you'll ever meet - he loves to be playing and he loves to be organising," the Scotland coach said.

"You weigh up what the strengths are of each player and how that's going to fit for a particular game.

"We want to have an identity as a team and the players will fit into that."

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