Scotland coach Gregor Townsend leaves Six Nations door ajar for Finn Russell
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has left the door open for frozen out star Finn Russell to still play some part in this Six Nations but stressed that the player must be “aligned to what the team stands for and the standards of that team”.
Russell, pictured, has not been part of the squad since he left the team hotel after an alleged drinking session almost two weeks before the opening game in Dublin and failed to show for training the next day. He was excluded for the Ireland game and was not back in camp on Monday as preparations for Saturday’s home Calcutta Cup clash with England got under way.
“I spoke to Finn on Sunday night to let him know that we wouldn’t be making any changes to our squad. I will reassess things after we get through this weekend,” said Townsend.
“It was a conversation and it was telling him he wasn’t going to be back in the squad this week. We will look at things next week.”
Asked if he had got, in that conversation, the impression that the 27-year-old Racing 92 playmaker still wanted to play for Scotland, Townsend said: “Yes, but the focus is on the group this week, and then we reassess.
“We have two weeks before the Italy game and most guys will be back at their clubs, Finn will be playing and there will be dialogue during that week, or the weekend after he plays and we’ll see where we are.
“It’s the same thing I said to you guys after last week’s conference call in Spain [during Scotland’s training camp]. Whoever comes into our squad has to be aligned to what the team stands for and the standards of that team. And I’m talking about anybody, not one person in particular.
“That’s going to be the deal for someone who comes in. I know players are desperate to play for Scotland. The national team for any country is the pinnacle and Six Nations reminds people what a fantastic thing is to play for your country… and there’s got to be certain standards you have to live up to get that opportunity to play for your country.”