Scotland playmaker Finn Russell will miss Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match against France. It is just the latest blow for the injury-ravaged Scots.
The 26-year-old suffered a head knock while playing for his club, Racing 92, against Toulouse on Sunday.
He joined Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad the following day and was subject to the graduated return to play protocol. He would have been available to play at the Stade de France if he had passed each daily check.
However, he was unable to complete Tuesday’s component of the process satisfactorily. As a result, the Scottish medical team deemed him unfit. He will now return to his club for ongoing monitoring.
A statement from Scottish Rugby confirmed that he had failed the test. That means there is insufficient time for him to be considered for Saturday’s game.
Russell’s absence comes on top of the unavailability of several other key men. His fellow backs Stuart Hogg and Huw Jones are ruled out. Both sustained knocks in the defeat against Ireland in round two of the competition.
Also out of action are prop WP Nel and back row men Ryan Wilson, Sam Skinner and Hamish Watson.
Russell’s replacement will come from a trio comprising Pete Horne, Duncan Weir and Adam Hastings. The latter’s father, Gavin, scored the winning try when the Scots won at the Parc de Princes in 1995. Townsend supplied the scoring pass on that occasion.
Since then, Scotland have had only one success on French soil. That came in the shape of a 36-22 victory in the final Five Nations Championship in 1999.
Written by Colin Renton