Finn Russell: Citing now in the past

Finn Russell says he'll use all of his experience when he encounters another high-ball situation again
Finn Russell says he'll use all of his experience when he encounters another high-ball situation again
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Scotland rugby stand off Finn Russell has told of how he will deal at Twickenham on Saturday with any repeat of the situation that earned him a one-match ban earlier in the RBS Six Nations Championship.

The citing of Russell caused outrage, not least across social media, as it was widely felt the player had no option but to stand his ground or else collect a boot in the face from Wales’ Dan Biggar as he leapt to re-gather a high kick ahead.

Left with nowhere to go, Russell upended his opposite number and although yellow carded that wasn’t the end of the matter. Cool, calm and collected when addressing the issues Russell, nevertheless, let inner feelings out when asked if a subsequent appeal panel had offered any explanations face to face that his ban which meant missing the visit of Italy 10 days ago stood?

“They said it was dismissed,” said Russell. “I don’t think they had an excuse. They said the panel before got it right.”

It is very much now a case of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ so far as the Glasgow play-maker is concerned.

What will he do, though, if lightning strikes twice?

“Probably run the other way,” he said with a chuckle before adding: “Seriously, I doubt I will get that situation again. If I do with the experience I have had I’ll ask myself ‘can I get there as fast as I possibly can? Can I get up in the air in time (to catch) or am I not managing to get their in time?

“If I am chasing my own kick it is slightly different. But these are split second decisions I have to make and hopefully get right.”

It is odds-on England will at least test Russell early on under a high ball, but the player will be focusing entirely on trying to quieten the home crowd influenced by how things worked out on his Six Nations debut in Paris last month.

“I know it is a massive stadium although I have never been there,” he said. “However, we can shut the crowd out by how we play.

“Against France we didn’t let the crowd get into it too much because we didn’t let France score (often). If we do that down there it will be kind of similar.

“We will definitely be the underdogs having not won down there in 32 years and that’s quite a while.

“With Scotland a lot of the time we are underdogs but on the pitch its 15-15 and everything to play for.

“If we manage to put on a performance we can and the bounce of the ball goes our way you never know.”

Bookies disagree, offering 8-1 against a Scottish win with England odds of 1-10.

Key to any upset could be midfield understandings. Scotland name a team later today and it is certain Russell will return. What of the centre options, though? Perm two from the following three – Alex Dunbar, Mark Bennett and Matt Scott.

Whatever combination takes the field, Russell will be comfortable.

“Myself, Mark and Alex have played a few games for Glasgow and get on well,” he said. “The stronger the relationship off field the stronger it is on field.

“It definitely does help because with a 10, 12, 13 attack or defence you know what each is going to do before they do it.

“However, Matt and I came through Scotland Under-20s together.”