How 'maverick' Finn Russell can supply Gregor Townsend with 'manna from heaven' in Wales

Calcutta Cup winning captain Andy Nicol believes Finn Russell and Gregor Townsend’s re-strengthened bond an shared focus is ‘manna from heaven’ for the Scotland coach.

Nicol highlighted the similar thinking of both, and Russell’s match-winning intelligence as a key performance indicator for Scotland after the fly-half's kicking caused England all sorts of problems last week in the successful Calcutta Cup defence.

Now in Wales, Nicol is tipping Russell to carry out Townsend’s gameplan, entrusted with leading the charge in Cardiff and exhibiting the advances in his own game.

"I loved what I heard about Finn – he has a game plan and Gregor has a game plan,” said Nicol. “That is manna from heaven for Gregor because he knows that he has someone out on the pitch just processing what is happening in front of him and not in a strait-jacket and just going out and playing what is in front of him, all the options he has got and everyone just getting on his wavelength that is incredibly powerful.”

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend (left) with Finn Russell. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

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Developments in Russell’s game have helped he added on BBC Sport’s Six Nations coverage.

“The rugby intelligence that Finn Russell has got now is just incredible, he was that maverick, he was brilliant. He has kept all the good stuff but has now got control and discipline and structure and his rugby intelligence is just fantastic

“He is playing two or three-phases ahead and that is wonderful not many people in world rugby can do that.”

Scotland kick off against Wales at 2.15pm.

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