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Russell: 'I was feeling frustrated'

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Finn Russell lifts lid on half-time dressing room chat that transformed Scotland's dire Calcutta Cup display

Finn Russell has revealed what went on in half-time dressing room that resulted in Scotland fighting their way back from a 31-7 deficit to draw last March’s Calcutta Cup match with England 38-all. 

The Scots were in dire straits in that Six Nations match at Twickenham and looked dead and buried as they trooped off to the sheds at the break. 

However, they returned to produce one of the most compelling 40 minutes of rugby ever seen by a Scotland team, jumping into the lead before being held to a draw by an added time England try. 

The revival can be traced back to the interval discussions sparked by Russell, who has now shed some further light on what was said nearly 20 weeks ago.

“It couldn’t have been much worse,” said the talisman to Scottish media this week about the position the team were in that Saturday evening in London. 

“With all players and coaches, you need discussions like that. It has to be open and honest. Whether that is me, another player, you need to have these discussions and say what you think. You might be wrong but as long as you feel comfortable saying it.

“That is what I try and get out of the young boys. I ask them, ‘What do you think of that, what do you think of this’? The more the young guys speak they will see things differently to others.

“At half-time in that game, something was not working. I was just saying what I thought we had to do. (Scrum-half) Greig (Laidlaw) made a few points, (head coach) Gregor (Townsend) had his points as well.

“I suppose rather than just have Gregor saying we have to do this and that the more heads you have working together the better the outcome. I’m always going to stay true to myself. If I don’t think something is working I am happy to express it.

“I suppose two years ago (when Scotland were thumped 61-21 by England) we were in the same position, weren’t we, although I suppose it was a different game. With the experience and confidence that has come over the last year… it is hard to say if I would have been able to say it without it.

“I was a bit frustrated at how it was going and there are probably a few factors there as to why I said it and expressed myself as I did.”

Scotland are continuing their World Cup preparations this week with their 44-man squad checked in to the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews.

WATCH: Part one of Operation Jaypan, the two-part RugbyPass documentary series on what the fans can expect at the Rugby World Cup

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Finn Russell lifts lid on half-time dressing room chat that transformed Scotland's dire Calcutta Cup display