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'I have to fly back'


'I have to fly back to France instead of staying in camp' - Russell

Finn Russell insists Scotland will come out fighting against France as they look to get their Guinness Six Nations campaign back on track.

Gregor Townsend’s team had high hopes of making a push for the title this year but Saturday’s Murrayfield defeat to Ireland has put them on the back foot.

Now with trips to Paris and Twickenham – two venues in which the Dark Blues have never managed an away win during the Six Nations era – sandwiching Wales’ visit to Edinburgh, Russell knows his side could be facing another Championship of frustration if they suffer again at the Stade de France in a fortnight’s time.

However, the Racing 92 star – who set up the Scots’ only try against Joe Schmidt’s men with a daring intercept and offload for Sam Johnson – has promised a full-blooded approach against Les Bleus.

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“We have three of the toughest games to come,” admitted the former Glasgow fly-half. “These are the situations you love to be in when you’re on the back foot and you have to come out fighting. We’re going to give it all we’ve got to finish as high as we can.

“Frustration is the right word after our defeat against Ireland. Silly errors and a few defensive lapses cost us. We weren’t accurate enough. It’s not anger, it’s ‘Why did we have such a good first half and then we didn’t play the same way in the second? What changed in the fifteen minutes of half time?’

“When you come up just short against one of the best teams in the world, it’s tough. We could’ve scored a couple more tries. If we’re going to progress as a country we’re going to have to start winning these games.”

Scotland dominated the Irish during the first half but two defensive slips allowed Conor Murray and Jacob Stockdale in to score.

Russell’s glorious pop-pass from the deck after stealing possession from Joey Carbery set-up Johnson’s first Scotland try but despite pushing hard before the break for a second, there was no breakthrough and Keith Earls’ second-half score wrapped up Ireland’s win.

Russell said: “The first half showed how good we can be. In the second we took the foot off the gas, allowed them into the game and they took control. Three slip-ups cost us.

“There was a lot of knock-ons and we gave away penalties in the second half. Whenever we got into their half we struggled to keep hold of the ball. I threw a forward pass. Once you make one mistake you make another and it’s a snowball effect.

“We should be able to fix those mistakes in France. We’ll need to be at our best if we are to win over there.”

Jacob Stockade scored Ireland's second try after a Scottish slip up in defence
Jacob Stockade scored Ireland’s second try after a Scottish slip up in defence (Ian Rutherford/PA)

While most of his team-mates will remain in the capital to prepare to face Jacques Brunel’s side, Russell is heading back across the Channel with the possibility of being involved for Racing against Toulouse next weekend.

But the 26-year-old is confident he can handle his extra workload.

“It’s going to be a different experience from past Six Nations as I have to fly back to France instead of staying in camp here,” he explained.

“I’ll be fine if I have to go back to Racing and play during the Championship’s week off. I’m mentally prepared to go maybe seven or eight games on the bounce. That’s just the way it is. I think my body will hold up alright.”

Press Association Sport

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'I have to fly back to France instead of staying in camp' - Russell