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'I've been thinking about that': Russell's Scotland tour situation

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

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Finn Russell has shared his thoughts on whether he will tour Argentina in July with Scotland. Gregor Townsend’s team have a three-Test series lined up on successive Saturdays following an A team match on June 25 in Chile. It’s a busy schedule that is already on the mind of the out-of-favour out-half whose length of season at Racing depends on how they finish out their Top 14 and Heineken Champions Cup campaigns. 

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The 29-year-old, who last summer toured South Africa with the Lions, has already played 28 matches this season, 20 for his club and another eight for his country. The situation with Scotland isn’t fully certain, though. as Russell was dropped to the bench for their last outing, the Guinness Six Nations defeat to Ireland in March, and he was also one of six players reprimanded the previous week for leaving the team hotel in Edinburgh following their return from Italy.  

Having defeated Sale last Sunday in the European quarter-finals, Russell could potentially have two more Champions Cup games to play and potentially another five in the Top 14 if Racing reach the finals in both tournaments. That would keep him busy with his club all the way through to June 24 and potentially bring his number of games for the season up to 35 before the Scotland tour. 

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Eben Etzebeth | Rugby Roots
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Eben Etzebeth | Rugby Roots

“Yeah, I have been thinking about that,” admitted Russell about the Scotland trip during a guest appearance on this week’s edition of The Rugby Pod with Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode. “Depending on how the season goes with Racing, we could lose this weekend, lose the next weekend against Montpellier and be out of the Top 14 and Europe so our season, I might only have two or three more games left depending on how we go. 

“If we were to get to the final of both tournaments I’d have seven more games. It would depend on how the next few weeks go here. We will see how that goes first and then have a think obviously for next season and how it best works for me.”

https://twitter.com/TheRugbyPod/status/1524301574394171393

Hamilton mentioned to Russell that in a recent interview he did with Eben Etzebeth on RugbyPass that the Springboks player suggested a 25-game limit per year needed to be introduced in rugby to assist player welfare. However, the Racing and Scotland out-half didn’t agree with that type of restriction. “It is different for me as a ten,” he explained.

“Physically it doesn’t have that much of an impact on me, it’s more the mental aspect of it and having a long season. Having big squads and the depth we have in this (Racing) squad, I got a week off a few weeks ago, they gave me a week off during the Six Nations which was great. If players are managed well you can do these games.

“I could potentially go back to Scotland and get looked after more by playing less games, not having a short season but playing less games per season but then that doesn’t help me in my position so I’d prefer to be over here playing more games, playing for Racing and living over here.

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“But it is different for everyone. Eben is a second row, he is physically going to be knackered after every game as well and he has to be switched on for the lineout stuff and everything that is going on there. It changes player to player, position to position.”

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