Finn Russell to help Scotland prepare for Scotland's next Six Nations test against France but only in advisory role

Finn Russell will play a part in preparations for this week’s crunch Six Nations match with Grand Slam-chasing France but only in an advisory role.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend and maverick stand-off Finn Russell are keeping lines of dialogue, it appears. Picture; SRU/SNS
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend and maverick stand-off Finn Russell are keeping lines of dialogue, it appears. Picture; SRU/SNS

In a baffling turn of events, The Scotsman understands that star stand-off Russell does have a future at international level but won’t be involved for the remainder of the championship following his banishment before the start of the tournament.

The 27-year-old will, however, help the team to prepare for Sunday’s clash with the French by calling into a conference call with the Scotland coaching team to provide his info on the opposition from his time playing in Paris for Racing 92.

Russell left the Scotland hotel two weeks before the opening Six Nations match against Ireland in Dublin after what has been described as a breach of team protocol. He has since spoke to a Sunday newspaper and levelled criticism at the Scotland management set-up under Townsend, his former club coach at Glasgow Warriors.

The Scotsman understands that positive dialogue has been had between Townsend and Russell but the stand-off won’t be involved for the final two fixtures of the championship at home to France and away to Wales.

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Townsend’s future as Scotland coach could be in jeopardy itself if both of those encounters end badly but it is believed he sees Russell, who has 49 caps, as having a future with the national team heading towards the summer tour of South Africa and New Zealand.

“We will see. It is not something I have thought about since the end of the game,” said Townsend when asked about the Russell situation following last Saturday’s 17-0 win over Italy in Rome.

“We had two weeks training and cohesion was very important in our selection this week.”

Townsend will work with a 37-man squad ahead of Sunday's scheduled clash with table-topping France, Edinburgh forward Carmichael coming in for Worcester's Cornell Du Preez.

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The 24-year-old Carmichael, has impressed for the Guinness PRO14 Conference B leaders since his return last year from a season-long injury layoff and will now aim to add to the two caps – which included a try-scoring debut – earned on the 2018 summer tour of north and south America.

Carmichael replaces Worcester Warriors back-row Du Preez, while it was confirmed Edinburgh clubmate and wing Darcy Graham will play no part in the tournament following the knee injury he sustained at the start of the campaign.

UPDATED SCOTLAND SQUAD 2020 Guinness Six Nations

FORWARDS (21)

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Simon Berghan (Edinburgh)

Jamie Bhatti (Edinburgh)

Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh)

Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors)

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Lewis Carmichael (Edinburgh)

Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh)

Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors)

Allan Dell (London Irish)

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Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors)

Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors)

Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh)

Tom Gordon (Glasgow Warriors)

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Nick Haining (Edinburgh)

Stuart McInally (Edinburgh)

Willem Nel (Edinburgh)

Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh)

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Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs)

Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh)

Ben Toolis (Edinburgh)

George Turner (Glasgow Warriors)

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Hamish Watson (Edinburgh)

BACKS (16)

Chris Harris (Gloucester)

Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors)

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Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) CAPTAIN

George Horne (Glasgow Warriors)

Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)

Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors)

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Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors)

Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh)

Sean Maitland (Saracens)

Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks)

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Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors)

Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh)

Matt Scott (Edinburgh)

Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors)

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Ratu Tagive (Glasgow Warriors)

Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors)

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