Skinner comes into the back row for the game against Wales on Saturday, replacing the injured Jamie Ritchie who has been ruled out for the remainder of the Six Nations campaign.
The Edinburgh flanker damaged his hamstring in the 20-17 win over England and has undergone surgery.
Tuipulotu’s inclusion is reward for an excellent first season with Glasgow Warriors. A dynamic attacker, the Aussie-born back is preferred to his club-mate Sam Johnson at inside centre. Johnson drops out entirely and will instead play for Glasgow against Munster in the United Rugby Championship at Scotstoun on Friday night.
Grant Gilchrist: Why landmark cap against Wales would ‘mean the world’ to Scotla…
Edinburgh trio Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally and WP Nel stood up to extreme scrum pressure in the dying minutes of last weekend’s Calcutta Cup clash and are given the nod to start in Wales.
Rory Sutherland, George Turner and Zander Fagerson all drop to the bench but are likely to be introduced early in the second half in a reverse of last week’s strategy.
In looking to build on a superb start to the Six Nations, Townsend’s side will have to do what no Scotland team has done since he himself was playing.
The coach was at stand-off in 2002 when the Scots last won in Cardiff thanks to two tries from hooker Gordon Bulloch, 14 points from the boot of Brendan Laney and three from Duncan Hodge.
Townsend, who guided Scotland to victory in Llanelli in the delayed 2020 Six Nations, seems unencumbered by the side’s history in Cardiff and believes the current group have shown their aptitude for winning important away games.
“We’ve not been there for four years and a lot has happened in that time,” said the coach. “We’ve had experiences against top sides home and away and shown resilience in those games. We’ve not won them all, but I believe the tests we had in Paris and Twickenham set us up for a great challenge this week with a full stadium, one of the best venues in the world.”
Scotland (v Wales, Guinness Six Nations, Principality Stadium, Saturday, 2.15pm. TV: live on BBC One)
15. Stuart Hogg – Exeter Chiefs – (Captain) – 89 caps
14. Darcy Graham – Edinburgh Rugby – 23 caps
13. Chris Harris – Gloucester Rugby – 32 caps
12. Sione Tuipulotu – Glasgow Warriors – 2 caps
11. Duhan van der Merwe – Worcester Warriors – 14 caps
10. Finn Russell – Racing 92 – (Vice-Captain) – 59 caps
9. Ali Price – Glasgow Warriors – 47 caps
1. Pierre Schoeman – Edinburgh Rugby – 5 caps
2. Stuart McInally – Edinburgh Rugby – 44 caps
3. WP Nel – Edinburgh Rugby – 44 caps
4. Jonny Gray – Exeter Chiefs – 65 caps
5. Grant Gilchrist – Edinburgh Rugby – (Vice-Captain) – 49 caps
6. Sam Skinner – Exeter Chiefs – 16 caps
7. Hamish Watson – Edinburgh Rugby – 46 caps
8. Matt Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 18 caps
16. George Turner – Glasgow Warriors – 21 caps
17. Rory Sutherland – Worcester Warriors – 17 caps
18. Zander Fagerson – Glasgow Warriors – 43 caps
19. Magnus Bradbury – Edinburgh Rugby – 15 caps
20. Rory Darge – Glasgow Warriors – Uncapped
21. Ben White – London Irish – 1 cap
22. Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh Rugby – 28 caps
23. Cameron Redpath – Bath Rugby – 1 cap