Ali Price ready to rein in former flatmate Finn Russell on Lions tour

Ali Price is looking forward to linking up with Finn Russell on the Lions tour after the former flatmates were both named in Warren Gatland’s squad for South Africa.

Ali Price and Finn Russell will hope to rekindle their Scotland partnership on the Lions tour. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Gatland made a point of praising Russell’s improved game management skills when he announced his touring party on Thursday but Price reckons he will still have to rein in his Scotland halfback partner.

‘Finn’s a bit of a maverick, isn’t he?” said the scrum-half. “As everyone knows, we get on incredibly well. It’s a good relationship to have as halfbacks.

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“It’s good to bounce ideas off each other. He’s maybe at one end of the spectrum, and I’m trying to bring him back to the middle line almost.

South Africa's scrum-half Faf de Klerk, left, celebrates after the springboks' Rugby World Cup final victory over England in 2019. Picture: AFP via Getty Images

“It’s brilliant that he’s coming on the tour as well. He’s an incredibly exciting player.”

Russell is not the only player whose game has matured. Since inheriting the No 9 jersey from Greig Laidlaw, Price has shown he is able to control matches while still adding exciting flourishes.

“I’ve obviously got more experience now than when I first broke on to the scene,” said the Glasgow Warriors player.

“There are different ways to play the game. I feel like I read the game better now than I did when I first came through. For me, especially at Test match level, it’s more about constructing the game rather than just trying to run around from anywhere from the start.

“Coming off the bench [earlier in my career], you’ve got a couple of scenarios – you are either chasing the game and need an injection, or you’ve got the lead and you need a bit more control. But the more you start these games at Test level, you almost have to build your way into them.

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“Whether I’ve consciously done it or not, I feel like that’s the way it has gone. I definitely feel like I’m reading the game better now than I was a couple of years ago.”

Price knows the ‘reward’ for his Lions call-up could be a head-to-head with the formidable Springboks scrum-half Faf de Klerk, a diminutive figure who punches well above his weight.

“It will be a massive challenge,” he acknowledged. “He’s incredibly aggressive in defence, considering his size. In attack, he’s a livewire. South Africa have a big pack and when they’re on the front foot, he’ll look to exploit any opportunity.

“But I relish the opportunity to go up against the guys who are playing well and who are perceived as being the best in the world in their position.”

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