SCOTLAND playmaker Finn Russell has left the Scotland training camp after being disciplined for a breach of team protocol, and his involvement in the Six Nations appears to be a major doubt. The BBC, who broke the story, have stated that the stand-off “could miss the entire campaign”.
A statement issued by the SRU said: “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.”
The absence of Russell would be a major blow to Scotland’s Six Nations aspirations. On his day, he is one of the most exciting and dangerous attacking players on the planet, and he also brings the experience of 46 caps to a side which has lost three senior players in Greig Laidlaw, John Barclay and Tommy Seymour to retirement since crashing out of the World Cup last October at the pool stage.
There has been suggestions that Russell and Scotland boss Gregor Townsend have not seen eye to eye for some time, with the player’s desire to play what he sees in front of him at odds with the more regimented approach the coach wants.
Speaking after Scotland’s remarkable comeback against England during last year’s Calcutta Cup, Russell told ITV: “I actually had an argument with Gregor [at half-time]. I said to him ‘you’re telling us to kick and when we kick, they just run it back and cut us open, and when we run it, they’re just hitting us behind the gain line and winning the ball back’.
“Second half, we just came out with nothing to lose, played our rugby, kicked out of our half and scored some great tries. We played good Scottish rugby.”