Scotland’s Six Nations preparations have been plunged into chaos following confirmation by the Scottish Rugby Union that Finn Russell will not play for them in their opener versus Ireland in Dublin.
A Thursday lunchtime statement by the SRU read: “Stand-off Finn Russell will play no further part in preparations for Scotland’s Six Nations opener against Ireland, having been disciplined for a breach of team protocol during the week’s camp in Edinburgh. He has returned to his club.”
The BBC first reported on Thursday morning that Russell had left camp, suggesting there could be something more than meets in the eye in this situation as it referenced in its report an argument that Russell had with Scotland boss Gregor Townsend during the interval of last March’s Calcutta Cup match versus England.
The Scots trailed 31-7 at the break before roaring back for the 38-all draw that would have been their first win at Twickenham since 1983 had George Ford not scored a late try.
”I actually had an argument with Gregor [at half-time],” Russell told ITV after the game.
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The 2020 Six Nations launch in London
“I said to him ‘you’re telling us to kick and when we kick, they just run it back and cut us open, and when we run it, they’re just hitting us behind the gain line and winning the ball back’.
“Second half, we just came out with nothing to lose, played our rugby, kicked out of our half and scored some great tries. We played good Scottish rugby.”
STATEMENT | Scotland team spokesperson: “Stand-off Finn Russell will play no further part in preparations for Scotland’s Six Nations opener against Ireland, having been disciplined for a breach of team protocol during the week’s camp in Edinburgh. He has returned to his club."
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) January 23, 2020
At the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday, Johnny Sexton was full of praise for Russell ahead of the tournament opener between Ireland and Scotland in Dublin. “Huge threat,” said Sexton about Russell. “We did a lot of homework on him before the World Cup game. He is obviously playing a lot better over the last couple of months.
“He has been playing really, really well for Racing and showing all the touches and the sort of moments of brilliance that he has, so we are going to have to be ready for all those tricks and they have got some other quality players in and around him as well that we have to be ready for.”
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