'Uncomfortable video' - Finn Russell's 'pathetic' work rate highlighted
A video showing Scotland star Finn Russell’s apparent poor work rate in the lead up to France’s first try has been viewed over 35,000 times on Twitter.
The Scot has come in for some heavy criticism following Scotland’s 36-17 Six Nations loss at Murrayfield to Fabien Galthie’s side. While France were clearly the better side on the day, Russell’s second flat performance in a row didn’t go unnoticed.
An aimless kick downfield was followed up with a lackadaisical kick-chase and then an even more tepid bid by the Racing 92 man to make it back to the defensive line. Indeed, Russell had despite two phases of play having elapsed, not made it back behind Scotland’s defensive line by the time the French scored.
The sequence of play had occurred just seven minutes in, so the 29-year-old could hardly have been out of breath or fatigued.
It was highlighted on Twitter by analyst Brett Igoe, who wrote: “Uncomfortable video review coming up in Scotland this week. The work-rate difference in the sides was incredible. 7mins in.”
— Brett Igoe (@brettruganalyst) February 26, 2022
Chiefs sports writer with BBC Scotland, Tom English, wrote of the damning video evidence: “This is being highlighted and rightly so. Really poor kick from Finn Russell to begin with (to Dupont of all people) and a lazy attempt to get back in the defensive line. Not good enough.”
“That is actually pathetic, for your top player, your talisman. Five minutes into the game. He doesn’t have an injury. He’s not fatigued. You’ve got a guy like Rory Darge killing himself around the field,” Horgan told the Virgin Media Sports panel. “You’d never see a Springbok doing that. You’d never see an All Black doing that. If Finn Russell counts himself as a really top player, have a look at the best players of the last ten years. Look at the Brian O’Driscoll’s, the generational players, the Dan Carters’, the Jonny Wilkinson’s. They were so hard working. That was pathetic.”
"If Finn Russell counts himself as a really top player, have a look at the best players from the last 10 years.
"Look at Brian O'Driscoll, Dan Carter, Johnny Wilkinson.
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) February 26, 2022
In his brightest moments, most would concede that Russell possesses near otherworldly talents, but for his critics, his frustrating lack of consistency for Scotland remains a sticking point.
Head coach Gregor Townsend certainly didn’t apportion blame on the players following the game, though he admitted that their first three tries came from mistake, including Russell’s kick.
“The first three tries they scored were very good but they were from our mistakes, which is very frustrating. We also let two try-scoring opportunities go in the first half.
“We spoke a lot about what’s needed going into the last two games but it’s a horrible feeling that we have to wait two weeks to go into the next game.”
Scotland now face the daunting task of Ireland in Dublin, their last chance of redeeming what started off as such a promising tournament.
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