Home International Rugby Finn Russel dropped for the match against Ireland

Finn Russel dropped for the match against Ireland

by Saba Gulmagarashvili

Scotland’s Finn Russell has been relegated to the bench for Saturday’s Six Nations match against Ireland in Dublin. Blair Kinghorn of Edinburgh replaces the highly-rated fly-half, whose performances in this year’s tournament have been questioned.

Russell’s absence is remarkable in light of the fact that head coach Gregor Townsend made only two changes to the team that started last Saturday’s bonus-point triumph away to Italy, and Kinghorn has only made one international appearance.

The other change is in the second row, where Jonny Gray replaces Exeter teammate Sam Skinner, who drops to the bench after missing the previous two games due to injury.

When asked what Russell had done to be left out, Townsend responded:

 “I’d prefer to focus on what Blair has done and how well he’s played and how he’s deserved his opportunity. We see this as an opportunity for Blair. He’s been in really good form.

“He wasn’t available for our match last week [due to personal reasons] but the week before that he played his best game of the season against Connacht.

“He’s come on twice off the bench and shown what he can do. He started against Tonga and played really well and he’s built on that performance so we believe this is the right time, the right game for him.”

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Townsend was asked how Russell reacted to the news that he would not be starting. he responded:

“Like any conversation, when you give someone news that they’re not starting, they’re initially disappointed but they support the team. Finn will support Blair, as he has done this week.”

“There is no exact science. You put a lot of thought into it and put out the team you believe is going to give you the best chance of winning. It’s about what you feel is right based on training and games.”

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