Scotland Six Nations disciplinary breach: Players wanted to celebrate Ali Price's 50th cap
A breach of team discipline has overshadowed the build-up to the final match of Scotland’s Six Nations campaign as it emerged that six players have been censured for visiting a bar in the aftermath of last weekend’s victory in Italy.
Stuart Hogg, the captain, Finn Russell and Ali Price were among the half-dozen who went out for a drink, in contravention of team protocols. The others are understood to be Darcy Graham, Sam Johnson and Sione Tuipulotu.
Hogg, Price, Graham and Johnson have all been picked to start Saturday’s match against Ireland in Dublin but Russell has been dropped to the bench, replaced at stand-off by Blair Kinghorn. Tuipulotu was released back to Glasgow Warriors to play in Friday night’s 1872 Cup match.
Scotland flew back to Edinburgh from Rome last Saturday evening after beating Italy 33-22. The match saw Price win his 50th cap and the scrum-half was named man of the match after a highly impressive performance in the Stadio Olimpico.
It is understood that a number of players wanted to celebrate Price’s landmark appearance with a few drinks and planned a trip into town from the team hotel.
However, with Sunday set aside as a recovery day and with the match against Ireland to come seven days later, they were warned not to go by team management. It is believed some went anyway, leading to the censure.
The Scottish Rugby Union acknowledged a disciplinary issue had arisen but declined to confirm the identity of the players.
A statement read: “The Scotland management team have this week dealt with a post-match matter involving six players following the game against Italy last weekend.
“The players involved have been spoken to individually and those conversations and outcomes will remain private.
“Preparations for the match against Ireland this week have been good and the whole squad is fully focused on achieving a positive result on Saturday.”
The involvement of Russell will inevitably lead to speculation about his relationship with Gregor Townsend, the Scotland coach. The pair fell out on the eve of the 2020 Six Nations, with Russell walking out on the Scotland team hotel after he was disciplined by Townsend, over a drink-related matter.
They patched things up during the first lockdown, with the coach admitting he could have handled the situation better.
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