British & Irish Lions

Townsend: Russell not ready to return to Scotland Six Nations fold

Gregor Townsend (PA)
Gregor Townsend (PA)

Edinburgh - Scotland coach Gregor Townsend believes Finn Russell has shown he is unwilling to "align himself" with the standards expected of players in his Six Nations squad.

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The flyhalf was excluded from selection for Scotland's tournament opener against Ireland due to a breach of team discipline and was not recalled for Saturday's defeat to England.

The Racing 92 player revealed in an interview with the Sunday Times that his relationship with Townsend had broken down and that it would be difficult to play again without "big changes".

Townsend said he hoped Russell would play for him again but demanded changes in the player's attitude.

"It doesn't look like there will be any change to align himself to the agreed standards of behaviours that this group are currently living by," he told BBC Scotland, following Russell's comments in the media.

Russell is one of Scotland's most talented players and pressure is growing on Townsend's position after back-to-back defeats at the start of the Six Nations and a disappointing group-stage exit at the World Cup.

However, Townsend stood by his intention not to recall Russell, unless the player is willing to change his ways.

"It will be disappointing for supporters, but ultimately what we believe will lead to our success is a team that is together, that can play to their potential," said the coach.

"We have also some really good players that are showing now that when they get the opportunity, they can play very well at Test level."

Townsend did not shut the door on the 27-year-old.

"If he comes back, is willing to agree to what we are currently living by in terms of standards then of course he can play a part in the future," he said.

Scotland suffered a further blow on Monday, with Jonny Gray ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations as a result of a hand injury suffered against England.

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