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'Finn is a world class player'

REACTION: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend praised the “focus and competitiveness” of Finn Russell after the mercurial flyhalf delivered three assists for tries in a record 35-7 win over Wales on Saturday.


Scotland have won their opening two games of a Six Nations for the first time, thanks in large part to Russell’s renaissance on the international stage.

The Racing 92 playmaker was controversially left out of Scotland’s first two November Test Series internationals.

But his return has inspired a dramatic upturn in performance from Townsend’s men.

“When he is at that level of focus and competitiveness he will deliver that level of performance,” said Townsend.

“The threats that Finn has around him set up opportunities and he made very good decisions on what opportunities to take.

“I thought our wings held their width really well and Finn’s kicking to them was excellent.”


Russell’s boot was the difference between the sides at half-time as he struck two early penalties before Wales captain Ken Owens cancelled out George Turner’s try for Scotland.

But Russell and Scotland clicked into gear in the second half as a delightful pass set up Kyle Steyn for the first of his two tries.

The same two players combined for Scotland’s third try as this time Russell’s cross-field kick picked out the Glasgow wing.

Blair Kinghorn’s score then secured Scotland the bonus point that takes them level with Ireland at the top of the Six Nations table.


But the hosts were not finished as Russell sent Matt Fagerson in to round off the scoring two minutes from time.

“Finn is a world class player. We know if we as a team perform well, we give him the platform to play his best rugby,” said Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie.

“We’ve got guys that he can put into space that are going to finish opportunities. He is great, but it’s also a team effort. We’ve got to put him in position and give him the stuff that he thrives on.”

‘Felt like an 8/10’

Next up for Scotland are the two top ranked sides in the world as they aim to win the Championship for the first time since 1999.

Townsend’s men travel to Paris in a fortnight before hosting Ireland on March 12.

“It feels like an improved performance,” said Townsend after Scotland beat England on the opening weekend to retain the Calcutta Cup.

“It didn’t feel like that at half-time but the second half was improved, so if it was a 7/10 last week, it felt like an 8/10 and we’ll have to improve again.

“The next two teams we play are ranked one and two in the world and we’ll need to get up to 9/10 to beat them.”

'Finn is a world class player'

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