World Cup-winning England coach Clive Woodward has called on the Scottish Rugby Union to ban Finn Russell from ever playing for Scotland again – regardless of who the coach it.  


Russell has become embroiled in a battle with current Scottish coach Gregor Townsend, who sanctioned the out-half by omitting him from his plans for the opening game of the Guinness Six Nations away to Ireland.

The disagreement was then further exacerbated in the wake of round two loss at home to England, Townsend coming out fighting following a damaging interview that Russell gave to The Sunday Times about the lack of rapport he has with the coach.

Now Woodward has waded into the debate in no uncertain terms, siding with the coach and slamming the behaviour of the player.  

“I hope that Scotland record a thumping win over Italy on Saturday,” said Woodward in his column. “I was sickened by Finn Russell’s unjustified and often incoherent character assassination of Gregor Townsend last week. 

(Continue reading below…)

Are Wales about to abandon the 60-cap rule?

Video Spacer

“It crossed a line and if I was Townsend I would issue a simple statement: if Russell does not apologise he will not play for Scotland while I am coach.

“I wish the SRU would step in first and state that Russell won’t play for Scotland again regardless of who is coach.

“Who does Russell think he is? As a fly-half, he has great talent but is wildly inconsistent and has regularly failed to deliver controlled 80-minute, match-winning performances. He disappoints as much as he excites.


“Russell needs to show a little humility. The Scotland rugby team have been playing for 149 years and his part in that history is very small indeed.”

Woodward went on to recall how he handled his own situation with Richard Cockerill, who wrote a book after the 1999 World Cup which alleged that the coach was a bully.

“I asked him for a public apology. He declined, so I banished him from the squad. I told him he would never again play for England on my watch and he didn’t. 

“A really good hooker, he missed out on the World Cup in 2003 when he was undoubtedly playing well enough to make our squad.”

Woodward added that he didn’t hold his grudge with Cockerill beyond that, claiming that when he was on the board at Leicester in 2005 and had the final say in who was selected as head coach, he chose the former Tigers hooker.  

WATCH: RugbyPass put some questions to new All Blacks coach Ian Foster on The Breakdown, the Sky Sport NZ show

Video Spacer

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now