Scotland’s Finn Russell missed training after Sunday drinking session
Racing 92 outhalf will now not take part in the Six Nations opener against Ireland
Finn Russell will not feature for Scotland against Ireland next month. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Scotland’s Six Nations campaign has been plunged into turmoil after Finn Russell – arguably the form outhalf in European club rugby – was sent back to his Paris club Racing 92 following “a breach of team protocol”.
Russell was told he would not be selected to face Ireland in Scotland’s Six Nations opener after he failed to show up for Monday’s training session following a late-night drinking session, according to a PA report.
The 27-year-old has been disciplined for a breach of team protocol followingthe incident at the team hotel last Sunday. Russell’s participation in the entire tournament is now in serious doubt after he turned down an offer to stay in camp and help Gregor Townsend’s men prepare for next Saturday’s Aviva Stadium clash.
On Thursday afternoon, not long after the news broke, Russell “liked” a tweet that said: “Nothing wrong with standing up for yourself.” He also liked three tweets by Racing teammate Simon Zebo who made light of the situation.
The Scottish Rugby stated: “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.”
Glasgow’s Adam Hastings is now in line to start at 10 in Dublin. The 23-year-old son of Gavin Hastings, arguably Scotland’s greatest ever player, is a decent replacement but all the improvements under coach Gregor Townsend have revolved around Russell’s rare skills.
England were defeated at Murrayfield in 2018 in large part due to the outhalf’s flashes of brilliance. That summer he made the lucrative move from Glasgow to Racing.
Russell spoke last season about an “argument” with Townsend at half-time against England when Scotland were trailing 31-7, seemingly sparking a revival that almost secured their first win at Twickenham since 1983.
“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.”
The match finished 38-all.
Scotland had a disastrous 2019 World Cup, losing 27-3 to Ireland, before exiting at the Pool stages following defeat to Japan in Yokohama.
Townsend is expected to add another outhalf to the squad as only Exeter fullback Stuart Hogg and Northampton centre Rory Hutchinson can cover for Hastings. Glasgow’s Pete Horne and Worcester’s Duncan Weir are both possible call-ups.