FINN RUSSELL will not return to Scotland’s training camp today ahead of next Sunday’s Six Nations clash against France at Murrayfield, and he will also miss the final game of the campaign against Wales in Cardiff six days later – but it is understood that a number of positive conversations took place between the playmaker and head coach Gregor Townsend last week, with both parties keen to get beyond the current impasse.
Russell apparently suggested, and Townsend agreed, that a return to the squad at this stage would be too much of a distraction – following his much-publicised walk-out before the championship kicked-off – but both men are understood to be hopeful that further positive conversations can take place after the championship with a view to the stand-off taking part in Scotland’s summer tour to South Africa and New Zealand.
The 27-year-old was in scintillating form for Racing 92 yesterday, scoring a spectacular 60-yard interception try in a 49-0 thrashing of La Rochelle, and now has a week off club duty – but will remain in Paris. He will, however, take part in a conference call with the coaching staff this week, when he will be able to give insights into his experiences in French rugby.
The situation has been discussed with the players, who are supportive of the plan to reintegrate the player back into the squad.
An update was issued this afternoon which explained that Edinburgh forward Lewis Carmichael has been added to the squad in place of Cornell du Preez, and confirmed that wing Darcy Graham will play no part in the tournament following the knee injury he sustained at the start of the campaign.
UPDATED SCOTLAND SQUAD –
FORWARDS: Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Lewis Carmichael (Edinburgh), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (London Irish), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Tom Gordon (Glasgow Warriors), Nick Haining (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh).
BACKS: Chris Harris (Gloucester), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) CAPTAIN, George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors), Ratu Tagive (Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors).