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Team captains pose ahead of the 2020 Six Nations Trophy. From left: France's Charles Ollivon, Scotland's Stuart Hogg, England's Owen Farrell,  Wales' Alun Wyn Jones, Italy's Luca Bigi and Ireland's Jonathan Sexton. Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire

Iain Morrison: This could be the last ‘small money’ Six Nations

It can be tricky to see pivotal points in history when you are living them but to future rugby historians 2020 may prove almost as important as the dawn of the professional era in 1996. Private equity firm CVC already has a slice of the Premiership pie, they have one leg under the Pro14 table, and the active discussions on the Six Nations will surely be translated into filthy lucre some time over the next 12 months.

Finn Russell is our most talented player but his absence is not all loss. Picture: SNS.

Allan Massie: Finn Russell affair is a small storm in a very small teacup

The Finn Russell business is disappointing, but, one hopes, not too disruptive. If what is reported is correct, he has behaved unprofessionally. Such things happen in every walk of life. There are many who have phoned in sick after a night on the town. Cabinet ministers have been known to be what Private Eye calls “tired and emotional”. Finn’s very talented team-mate at Racing22 , Teddy Thomas, stepped over the same line after the Scotland-France match two years ago and was consigned to outer darkness by Jacques Brunel, then the French coach.

Rugby Union 9

6 reasons why this is actually a poor Ladbrokes Premiership season

Scottish football is in great nick, isn't it? Celtic and Rangers are slugging it out in the first proper title race we've had in nearly a decade, each of them have slapped down some of Europe's elite en route to the latter stages of the Europa League, thereby restoring some much-needed respectability to a league that lacked any from outside our borders, and there's more money with a better TV deal about to kick in and clubs in better financial health after the long hangover from the late-90s, early-00s hedonism.

Even Bryson DeChambeau, one of the notoriously slow players on the circuit, moved faster in Abu Dhabi. Picture: Getty

Martin Dempster: So far, so good for new European Tour pace of play protocols

It worked. The first event held under the European Tour’s new protocols on pace of play was played quicker than it had been in similar conditions a year ago. Now, one of the circuit’s most influential voices wants the foot kept to the pedal so that the tour can “send a signal to the world” in its attempt to tackle the game’s biggest problem once and for all.

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