Gregor Townsend and Finn Russell.
Gregor Townsend and Finn Russell. Image Credit: AFP

Edinburgh: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend would welcome back Finn Russell for the Six Nations on condition the estranged fly-half shows he’s a team player.

Russell was disciplined for a breach of team protocol on Jan. 19 at their hotel. Instead of staying with the team to help Scotland prepare for their opening match against Ireland in Dublin this Saturday, Russell left last week. He played for his Racing 92 club in France over the weekend.

Russell’s experience and stature made him the first-choice No. 10, and Townsend said on Monday, “The door is open for any player.

“He is unavailable not because of injury, he is not available because of what went on, and there has got to be a link to where he would be in terms of, is he with the team? Is he able to live up to the standards expected of a team player and a Scotland team player?

“But the focus is so much on us preparing for Ireland that these are questions for a later time.”

Townsend held a “positive” meeting with Russell the next night, last Monday, but the pair has not been in contact since Thursday, when Russell left the Scotland camp.

Townsend said, after the Monday meeting, he believed they were “in a really good place” and Russell would return.