Selection issues can’t distract Scots from France test

Finn Russell feels for 'gutted' teammates but says focus must be on huge Six Nations clash.

Selection issues can’t distract Scots from France test SNS Group

The agreement to allow Scotland to only select five of their players from English clubs cannot be allowed to derail their preparations for facing France, according to Finn Russell.

With the rearranged Six Nations match taking place in Paris on Friday – outside of World Rugby’s designated international player release window – Scotland and the Six Nations had to negotiate with clubs to release their players to play.

A breakthrough was reached on Saturday evening but it later transpired that the fee being paid to Premier Rugby Limited – which runs the English Premiership competition – only allowed Scotland to call on five of their exiles.

Sam Skinner and Stuart Hogg of Exeter Chiefs, Chris Harris and Alex Craig of Gloucester Rugby and Scott Steele from Harlequins were selected, meaning Sean Maitland and Duncan Taylor of Saracens, Jamie Bhatti of Bath and Exeter’s Jonny Gray all returned to their clubs.

Russell, who has recovered from the head knock that ruled him out of facing Italy at the weekend, said: “It’s tough, this is a one-off occasion that this will happen.

“So I’m not sure if it’s fair or unfair, we just have to prepare as best we can with the players we have got.

“There will be a few boys who are gutted they are not able to be involved.

“Sean has been involved in most games in the Six Nations, Jamie Bhatti was back in again.

“But we can’t think about that, we just have to prepare as best we can.

“As a squad if we sit back and look at ifs and bits and ‘it’s not fair’ and all this stuff, it will be detrimental to our performance.

“We need to be solely focused on the game and who we have got.”

France select from a full compliment of players as they all play in their home nation’s Top 14 league.

Russell also plays in France, for Racing 92 of Paris, and said his involvement was never in doubt.

He said: “It was always fine for me. I come under the same rules as the French team so it was always going to be okay.

“Racing have a couple of boys away already so it shouldn’t have changed anything for me, so I was always confident I’d be okay to play.”

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