Scotland coach makes Russell wait for return
SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has told Finn Russell he will not consider bringing the shamed star back into the fold until after this weekend’s Six Nations clash with England.
Russell was axed from the Scotland squad for their tournament opener against Ireland last weekend after breaching team rules with a late-night drinking session in the build-up to the match in Dublin.
Townsend spoke with the 27-year-old the day after Scotland’s 12-19 defeat to inform him that he would be left out again for England’s visit to Edinburgh on Saturday.
Adam Hastings will fill in for Russell against England and, with rumours of discord between the coach and Russell over tactics, Townsend plans to take his time before deciding if the Racing 92 flyhalf has done enough to earn back his trust.
“I spoke to Finn on Sunday night to let him know that we wouldn’t be making any changes to our squad,” Townsend said on Thursday.
“I will reassess things after we get through this weekend.”
Asked if it was a positive conversation, he quickly clarified, saying: “It was a conversation and it was telling him he wasn’t going to be back in the squad this week.
“We will look at things next week. Yes of course [he could feature before the end of the Six Nations]. Just in the same way there’s a possibility that Sam Skinner and Matt Fagerson, guys who’ve been out, who’ve been out injured, but will hopefully be back in the next couple of weeks.”
Townsend was pressed on what exactly was required of Russell to seal a return to the squad but quickly shot down the questions.
“I’d rather not discuss that as we have a big game this weekend,” he said. “I want to be talking about the players who are involved in that game.”