Scotland will go into their opening match of the Six Nations against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on February 1 without Finn Russell after he was sent home to his club Racing 92. It has left fans demanding an explanation.
Scottish Rugby released this statement on Twitter regarding the announcement: “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.”
While judgement needs to be reserved until it is clear what has happened, fans have said that they have paid money to watch their team play and they deserve to know why arguably their best player is missing.
Given the considerable impact that this decision could have on Gregor Townsend’s team, it is understandable that the Scottish public want more clarity on this affair as the statement did not go into any detail.
While it has been noted that no player is bigger than the team, and Russell should not receive preferential treatment simply because he is one of their most influential players, the lack of an explanation is what is particularly irking so many fans.
What’s gone on here then? More information needs to be forthcoming. A lot of ppl have spent hard earned coin, with some youngsters maybe coming to see their idol Finn as well…
— Michael Stowe (@michaeljstowe) January 23, 2020
You really need to expand on this. Exactly why aren't we going to have our best player? In this Pro age, it's us who are keeping the SRU going.
— Western Wanderer (@ColinMackie007) January 23, 2020
Alongside captain Stuart Hogg, the fly-half has always been recognised as one of Scotland’s key players and is playing at the top of his game at the moment in France.
I feel sick.
— Scott McEwan (@scondigib) January 23, 2020
Protocol is so much more important than winning. Not to worry, we'll just pull in one of our other world class fly halves.
— Colin M (@Colin_MacD) January 23, 2020
What a shambles. As if we were not enough of a laughing stock in the 6 nations already after that RWC showing.
— Alex Watt (@AlexFWatt) January 23, 2020
It would be nice to know what this "breach of team protocol" actually was, given he is one of our most important players and all… https://t.co/SzILqU5Hfb
— Andrew (@andrewpunton) January 23, 2020
Imagine spending the kind of money you have to spend to go see Scotland throughout the six nations and finding out the best player has been patched off. Sore one. https://t.co/iG8xBzCx0X
— Angus Coutts (@angusmaroon) January 23, 2020
The game in Dublin has now been described as the perfect opportunity for Adam Hastings to step up and replace Russell.
The Racing ten is undeniable a pivotal cog in the Scotland team, but Hastings has always been seen as a worthy replacement, who will not have to deputise against Ireland but possibly for the entire tournament.
I get the 'no individual is bigger than the team' approach.
But I wonder what kind of breach of protocol justifies sending arguably your best player home? https://t.co/2ulNIKveoO
— Rhys Jones (@RhysPJones98) January 23, 2020
Explain what the breach was please? Do you understand how popular Russell is and how unpopular the SRU are right now? Dodson's salary, The Japan disrepute debacle, a coach that hasn't been able to deliver. Do we add this to the list too?
— Colin McLennan ??????? (@Colin_McLennan) January 23, 2020
— Barry O'Driscoll (@BarryOD71) January 23, 2020
The Scottish Rugby Union has not ingratiated itself with the Scottish public in recent weeks after the payments to their executives were revealed – and this will not help their cause nine days before the Six Nations starts.
WATCH: Glasgow’s Dave Rennie, who is taking over the Wallabies, talks at the Australian Super Rugby launch
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now