It will be Russell’s first taste of professional rugby since a sickening head clash with Zander Fagerson in last season’s Pro12 semi-final against Connacht. The loosehead prop also starts tonight’s tie at Scotstoun with his brother, Matt, on the bench.
“I’m as confident as you would be if this was his [Russell’s] first or second game of the season without injury,” said coach Townsend, backing his No 10 to bounce back after four months out.
“The way he has attacked training, the way he attacked that (club) game, he can’t wait to play. He has always stepped up at the highest level, it’s a big test for us, it’s a big test for him but he’s usually relished that.”
Russell made a successful return at club level last Saturday when Ayr beat Hawick at Mansfield Park. He showed up well, scoring one try himself and setting up two others. Crucially Russell showed no signs of any hangover from his injury.