Scotland bring in star playmaker for All Blacks clash
SQUAD UPDATE: Finn Russell is back in the Scotland squad for Sunday’s Test against New Zealand after being called up to replace the injured Adam Hastings.
Racing 92 flyhalf Russell was a controversial omission from Scotland’s original group for the November Series.
Hastings, Blair Kinghorn and Ross Thompson were chosen ahead of Russell, with Townsend citing “form and consistency” levels as the key criteria for his selection.
Russell, 30, who has had a difficult relationship with Scotland boss Gregor Townsend, walked out on the Scotland squad prior to the Six Nations in 2020 after publicly criticising his coach’s methods.
The flyhalf was also dropped for last season’s Six Nations game against Ireland after it emerged he had breached team protocol by going out drinking in Edinburgh along with five other players.
But Russell is back in the fold ahead of the clash with New Zealand at Murrayfield after Hastings was ruled out following Saturday’s 28-12 win over Fiji.
After the Fiji game Townsend said he had not spoken to Russell since informing him last month he was not in the original squad but the head coach insisted that was not unusual.
“If people are not in the squad I don’t phone them up regularly unless there’s something to talk about,” he said. “But I’d imagine he’d be available.
“He was disappointed not to be in the squad. If we decide to bring another 10, he’ll be one of the ones we’ll be looking at.”
George Turner has shrugged off an injury concern after the hooker scored one of Scotland’s four tries against Fiji.
A brief Scottish Rugby Union statement on Twitter said: “Finn Russell joins the Scotland squad with Adam Hastings returning to his club. George Turner remains with the team as preparations continue for Sunday’s game against New Zealand.”
Scotland host Argentina on November 19 in their final match of the end-of-year series.