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Finn Russell: Scotland fly-half left out of squad for England match


Finn Russell has won 46 Scotland caps

Finn Russell has been omitted from Scotland’s squad for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match at home to England.

The fly-half, 27, had left the squad prior to the 19-12 defeat by Ireland for “breaching team protocol” during a drinking session.

Defence coach Steve Tandy says head coach Gregor Townsend “is in dialogue” with Russell.

Adam Hastings started at 10 for Scotland in Dublin and successfully kicked four of his five penalties.

Hastings and Duncan Weir have been listed as the fly-half options in Townsend’s Calcutta Cup squad.

England also opened the Six Nations with defeat, 24-17 against hosts France.

Fourteen players who were not in Scotland’s matchday squad in Dublin are in the 31-man pool for Saturday’s match at Murrayfield, including uncapped quartet Alex Craig, Luke Crosbie, Tom Gordon, Kyle Steyn and Ratu Tagive.

Russell played in Racing 92’s win over Castres the weekend prior to the opening Six Nations fixtures.

When discussing the Russell situation last week, Townsend gave no indication whether the fly-half would play any part in this year’s Six Nations, saying: “Let’s see what happens over the next few weeks.

“Every individual has to align himself to what’s to the benefit of the team. If their actions are against that there will be consequences.

“Nothing is more important in sport than playing for your national team, even more than club level. To be with the team, to promote that team culture of togetherness, of high standards and responsibility for what you have when you’re wearing that thistle.

“Every player is reminded of that every time when they come into camp. Every player works hard to be given that opportunity to play for Scotland and that will always be the case.”

‘Russell may need to show contrition’ – analysis

BBC Scotland rugby reporter Andy Burke

As one of their few genuine world class talents, Scotland can ill afford to have a player of Finn Russell’s quality sitting in his Paris home while they try to overcome the Six Nations heavyweights. But the composed performance of Adam Hastings in Dublin demonstrated they can function without him.

Gregor Townsend looks to have limited the potential for disruption to the team by leaving Russell out for Saturday’s meeting with England, even if it’s a team the fly-half has thrived against in recent years. Russell may have to demonstrate some contrition for the behaviour that led to him being dropped in the first place if he is to have any international future under Townsend.

Scotland squad

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury (all Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Alex Craig (Gloucester), Luke Crosbie (Edinburgh), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Allan Dell (London Irish), Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Tom Gordon, Jonny Gray (both Glasgow Warriors), Nick Haining, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Ben Toolis (all Edinburgh), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh)

Backs: Chris Harris (Gloucester), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors), Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Sam Johnson, Huw Jones (both Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Henry Pyrgos, Matt Scott (both Edinburgh), Kyle Steyn, Ratu Tagive (both Glasgow Warriors), Duncan Weir (Worcester Warriors)

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