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Why Hastings would always pick Russell ahead of his son Adam

By Liam Heagney
Finn Russell and Adam Hastings (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Legendary Scotland full-back Gavin Hastings has admitted he would never have any qualms about picking Finn Russell ahead of his own son Adam at Test level. That selection debate isn’t a dilemma ahead of the upcoming Guinness Six Nations which starts for the Scots this Saturday against England at Twickenham, as the Gloucester-based Hastings is currently unavailable through injury.

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However, even if his son was fit and available for Gregor Townsend’s team, Hastings Snr would pick Russell as his Scotland starter at No10. “There is no doubt in my mind that even if Adam was fit, Finn Russell is the No1 stand-off and has been for a number of years. I have always forever been a fan of Finn Russell.

“His play has definitely matured in the Scotland jersey over the last two or three seasons. He is like a sort of George Best-type character that is possibly thinking so far ahead of his teammates and they don’t quite know where he is thinking. So the challenge, I guess, for Finn is for him to play with people who are up to speed with him.

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“That is not a criticism of him. That’s just his genius in many respects. I believe he is the best passer of the ball in World Rugby bar nobody. His passing skills are just majestic. He has a pass that is superior to anybody else that plays the game in the world. I’m not sure enough is made of his skills in that department.”

Russell heads into the latest Six Nations having recently patched up his rumbustious relationship with Scotland boss Townsend. The pair had their latest falling out towards the end of last year’s Six Nations and that acrimony culminated in Townsend omitting Russell from his squad for the Autumn Nations Series.

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The separation didn’t last long, however, as injuries forced the coach’s hand and Russell returned to play a big role versus the All Blacks and Argentina. “I’m sure Finn has his own views of his own desires, which express himself in the context of playing within the team,” reckoned Hastings, giving his verdict to Online Betting Guides on the current status of the on-off Russell-Townsend relationship.

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“That might not fit in with the way that Gregor wants the team to play but, as with every sort of maverick, you have got to find a way to play and there is an understanding now between the pair of them. Finn is not a one-night stand, so to speak.

“He is clearly capable of playing rugby at the very highest level and he is capable of winning games almost on his own. If that is going to give Scotland the chance to win a game down at Twickenham, you can’t ignore that.

“You can’t pretend that it’s not to Scotland’s advantage to play him. It would seem to me to be a no-brainer for the two of them not to work as well together as they possibly can.”

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