SCOTLAND head coach Gregor Townsend has backed star stand-off Finn Russell to bounce back from a frustrating first match at this World Cup against South Africa last Sunday, when the enigmatic playmaker struggled on back-foot ball to create game-breaking opportunities for the rest of his team.
“What do I expect from him at this World Cup? That he plays at his best level,” said Townsend. “It didn’t happen for him, but above all for the team, against South Africa and so it is up to him, me and the team to improve our performance and to bounce back against Tonga. We must bounce back and we must win, and then we must beat Romania to set up what would be a kind of last-16 [knockout] match against Ireland to progress.
“How the fly half plays depends on how the game is going, whether the ball is quick or slow and whether the opposition defence manage to limit his influence.
“For the last six years, Finn has often played good match after good match and I know he will come back strongly. We’ve seen it in training this past week. He has a lot of pride in this group and they have a lot of trust in him.”
Scotland play Tonga in Nice on Sunday at 4.45pm UK time.