Six Nations Championship

Russell dropped by Scots for Ireland clash

Finn Russell
Benched: Finn Russell (pic: SNS Group)

Gregor Townsend has dropped Finn Russell for Scotland’s final 2022 Six Nations match against Ireland this weekend.

Edinburgh Rugby’s Blair Kinghorn gets the nod at No. 10 on Saturday with Russell having to settle for a place on the bench in Dublin.

The change is one of two alterations to the starting XV from last weekend’s victory over Italy in Rome, with second row Jonny Gray returning from injury in place of Sam Skinner, who is listed among the replacements.

“Every selection is an opportunity,” said Townsend.

“We see this as an opportunity for Blair. He’s been in really good form. He wasn’t available for our match last week but the week before that he played his best game of the season against Connacht.

“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 to play in.

“There is no exact science. Like any game, 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.

“We know Blair has done really well and earned this opportunity, and also with how we’re looking to play the game, with Blair’s strengths.

“He’s a very good passer, an excellent runner, he has a long-kicking game and he moves well between phases. He senses where the space might appear in the defence very well.”

As to Russell’s reaction when he was told the news, the head coach said: “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.”

The Scots are looking for their third win in what has been a championship of mixed fortunes, victories over England and Italy being offset by defeats from Wales and France.

Scotland: S Hogg; D Graham, C Harris, S Johnson, K Steyn; B Kinghorn, A Price; P Schoeman, G Turner, Z Fagerson, J Gray, G Gilchrist (VC), R Darge, H Watson, M Fagerson. Replacements: F Brown, A Dell, W Nel, S Skinner, J Bayliss, B White, F Russell, M Bennett.



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