British & Irish Lions

Maitland hopes Russell and Townsend can sort out differences

Finn Russell (AFP)
Finn Russell (AFP)

Edinburgh - Sean Maitland believes Finn Russell will be welcomed back into the Scotland fold if he can find a way to work out his differences with coach Gregor Townsend.

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The flyhalf's international future is in serious doubt after he revealed a worrying breakdown in relations with Townsend.

Russell missed the opening match of the Six Nations against Ireland as a disciplinary measure for a breach of team protocol understood to relate to a late-night drinking session.

Russell, 27, was also left out as Scotland lost 13-6 to England at Murrayfield on Saturday - their second successive defeat of this season's Championship.

In an interview with Britain's Sunday Times, Racing 92 player Russell appeared to issue a "him or me" ultimatum to Murrayfield chiefs.

"I'm going to play for Scotland again at some point," Russell told the paper.

"It's definitely going to happen. But until I see or feel the big changes that I need to get back to playing my best, it's going to be very difficult for me to do it," he added.

Scotland wing Maitland, who travelled north from London on the same flight as Russell on the day of the alleged drinking session, said he wanted to see Russell in a Scotland kit again.

"Hopefully whatever is going on, it can just get sorted and get him back in, fighting to play for this jersey," he said.

"As of now I don't know what's going on but hopefully we've now got a bit of time for whoever's got to work things out with whoever and get it sorted out.

"Yeah we flew up together. We had some food but I was shattered after the game and went straight to bed. So whatever happened, I don't know what the ins and outs were.

"I just want him back. The whole squad will probably agree with me there."

Maitland, 31, said he had no plans to quit Saracens next season despite the looming prospect of relegation to the Championship following the club's salary-cap scandal.

"From what I'm hearing the core squad is staying together," he said. "Of course I'd love to stay too. I love it in north London. The club have looked after me really well over the last four seasons, so we'll see what happens."

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