Finn Russell breaks silence on Scotland's Six Nations criticism and insists: 'I'm a rugby player, not a bodybuilder'

Finn Russell has opened up on Scotland's Six Nations disappointment while responding to question marks over his physique in his first interview since being dropped for the final match of the tournament.

Russell was left out of the Scotland starting line-up for the 26-5 defeat to Ireland which concluded a frustrating series for both Gregor Townsend's side and the Racing 92 fly-half.

The 29-year-old’s performances across the Six Nations, which included defining moments at both ends of the pitch, were the subject of much scrutiny with a crossfield kick-pass which led to the penalty try that secured victory over England in the Murrayfield opener followed by a costly yellow card in the defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

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He was also one of the 'Edinburgh Six' who were disciplined for an unauthorised visit to a bar in the Capital after returning home from the win over Italy in Rome.

Finn Russell has spoken for the first time since a disappointing Six Nations with Scotland. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Russell, now back in France with Racing 92 and preparing for the second leg round of 16 clash against Stade Francais in the Heineken Champions Cup, reflected on Scotland's record across the five matches in an interview with rugbyrama.fr .

"It was average to be honest," he said. "We have a year and a half left before the World Cup. We must discuss all together, staff, players and leaders. You have to understand why we were less good than last year.”

On being dropped for the final match in Dublin, Russell sighed: "That's how it is.

"Nobody likes being relegated to the bench. It was the second time it happened to me with Scotland, both times under Gregor. The first time, it was for my fiftieth with the selection..."

Was it a punishment this time? "There must also be some of that, yes,” admitted Russell, who was also quizzed on the criticism he received from the Scottish media for his displays across the tournament.

"It doesn't stress me out that much," he said. "After our inaugural victory against England, we were the best team in the world. After the defeat in Cardiff, I was good to be thrown into oblivion. That day, I received a yellow card for having attempted an interception near our goal line [ruled to be a deliberate knock-on]. But I would do the exact same thing again, if I had the chance. The shot was good, I swear!"

Russell has also faced questions over his physique. Put to him that one of the best rugby players in the world has the shape of an average man, he replied: "In the [gym], I do what I have to do to be ready for the weekend, no more. Me, I'm a rugby player, an opening half, not a bodybuilder. My job is not to push hard in the scrum or outrun the opponent on the wing.

"The important thing for me is the psychological side; it's about staying happy on and off the pitch. This is how I practice my best rugby. My body doesn't matter to me. I don't care if I don't have chocolate bars. I love burgers and pizza too much, anyway."

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