Scotland v France: Finn Russell insights key and why nobody should think he doesn’t care

The national captain revealed that Russell has had “a huge influence” on tactics as Gregor Townsend’s side look to get their campaign back on track following the defeat by Wales in Cardiff.

The stand-off has spent the last three-and-a-half seasons in the Top 14 with Racing 92 and is familiar with opponents whose entire match-day squad is chosen from the French top flight.

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Scotland have beaten Fabien Galthie’s team in each of the last two meetings of the sides in the Six Nations but have not won three in a row against France in the championship since 1956-57-58.

Hogg believes Russell’s insider intelligence could be key to a home win at BT Murrayfield.

“It has been a massive help,” said the full-back. “Finn has been absolutely outstanding, as he is most weeks, but even more this week because he has had a huge influence on the way we are trying to play and the analysis he has brought from the Top 14 on individual players that he plays with. or against. He has been quality, absolute quality.

“He is getting really excited about the opportunities that we’ve got in attack. He is going to be the driver of the way we want to play. His analysis of him has been second to none and I’ve been really impressed by what he has done this week.

Scotland stand-off Finn Russell was yellow-carded against Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Russell came in for criticism in some quarters for his performance in Scotland’s 20-17 defeat by Wales in round two of the championship. The stand-off, who created a try for Darcy Graham, was sin-binned towards the end of the match in Cardiff for a deliberate knock-on as he tried to make an interception.

Russell was seen smiling ruefully as he left the field and was subjected to some flak on social media but Hogg said that no-one should be any doubt about his commitment to the cause.

“Everybody is different,” said the captain. “He smiles when he makes an error and I love that because I know that when he is like that he still remains calm. He is frustratingly good at times and he just seems to park mistakes.

Stuart Hogg, left, says Finn Russell has been a huge influence in preparations for the France match. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“The best thing about Finn is that he genuinely doesn’t care what people think, other than the people he cares about. Everybody reacts to mistakes, things that happened well or don’t quite go according to plan, in completely different ways and that’s what we want. We want people to be individuals.

“Everybody can say what they want about Finn and what they want about myself or anybody else. Mistakes happen. We genuinely care. It is a bit frustrating when people look in and think the opposite.

“It was only because the result didn’t go our way last time that we probably got more [criticism] than normal. We will continue to be the exact same.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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