Ali Price reveals he speaks to Scotland exile and former housemate Finn Russell every day

Yesterday’s explosive Sunday newspaper interview surely ended any hope of seeing Finn Russell playing
for Scotland in this Six Nations and much work needs to be done to repair a suspected rift with head coach Gregor Townsend which has now become an evident chasm.

Scotland scrum-half Ali Price takes the game to England at BT Murrayfield. Picture: Paul ELLI/AFP

The stand-off has maintained his bonds with team-mates, though, such as wishing Adam Hastings luck on the eve of the match against Ireland in Dublin and constant contact with his good friend and former Glasgow housemate and half-back partner 
Ali Price.

“I speak to Finn every day,” said the Scotland scrum-half. “It’s a tricky situation, he loves Scotland, he loves playing for Scotland, and he supports…the boys. He supports me, he supports the team. I’ve read a lot of stuff, as I’m sure everyone has, there’s a lot in it. That’s all I can say on this.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

While the, for want of a better phrase, stand-off surrounding Russell continues, life must go on for Scotland who are now two narrow defeats out of two and, not for the first time, looking for a win over Italy 
to salvage a stuttering Six Nations campaign.

Hastings will continue to fill the Russell-shaped void at playmaker,
which he has done with no little
aplomb, and Price said: “You’ve probably heard this a few times but we’re not just a one-man team. I think Adam has come in and, considering
the circumstances and what was 
publicised everywhere, I think he’s done a really good job.

“Does Finn come in and add depth to 10? Of course he does, he’s a world-class 10 and would give Adam a shoot-out for the shirt, competition’s always better in training. Would results have been different [with Russell]? What do you say to that? We’ll never know.”

Price was left reflecting on another match that got away in hellish conditions as England edged Saturday’s storm-swept Calcutta Cup clash 13-6.

“I can’t remember many games 
that had the wind and rain as such a combination,” said the 26-year-old. “I don’t know what it was like to watch, but it felt a bit of slog out there. It was going to be won on small margins, a small error, a dropped ball, it was one of those games where I felt you were more comfortable without the ball.”

Price insisted the morale in the camp remained strong despite the initial devastation of yet another Test match defeat.

“We’re all in this together, aren’t 
we? We’ll take what comes our way,” he said.

“From the public and whoever we’ve got to stick together as a group. We’ve played Ireland away who have lost one game in however many years [one Six Nations home defeat in five years]. They just beat Wales comfortably today.

“Then we play England who made it to the World Cup final a couple of months ago. And we could have won both of them, really, we were right in the game. We know that we’re not far away, there’s a new feel around the squad with some boys retiring and we try to bring a new energy to what the squad’s about.

“And it’s there. We’re enjoying our training and enjoying going out and putting it in with each other. We just need to flip these results. It’s easier said than done, but these good teams that are doing that, Ireland last week, England this week, we’re the team that’s just lost. We want to flip that.

“We’ll stick together, we’re a tight bunch and we target these next three games. We want to win these next three.”

The squad will now enjoy a bit of a breather week before preparations start in earnest for what is now a pivotal trip to Italy. “This down week has maybe come at a good time. We’ve got a week when we can just focus on ourselves and there’s a weekend when there’s no pressure on us,” said Price. “We can build and look to go to Rome and put in a great performance. I feel we can build on aspects of both games, probably more so Ireland than today, because that was a bit of a slog. But we can build on those aspects of things we did right.

“The discipline in the first half wasn’t great for us. [Owen] Farrell
missed a couple of shots at goal which could have stretched the lead for them.

“Against these sides they want to march you down the field. We need to cut that out, our speed to the breakdown needs to improve. We’re in these games. We go to Rome now and we must win, 100 per cent, be confident that we can win. France at home, again it’s another opportunity in front of our supporters and fans to put a foot forward and try and come away with a win.

“Then we’re two from two and go down to Cardiff with a bit of momentum. That’s the goal now.”