FINN RUSSELL says it is time for Scotland to stop flattering to deceive and fully deliver on their potential. Speaking after an error-strewn second half performance derailed the team’s quest to defeat Ireland at Murrayfield, the stand-off – who was once again one of the team stand-out performers – was in no mood to embrace the gallant losers tag.
“Frustration is the right word,” he said, when asked for his thoughts on the Ireland game. “Silly errors and a few defensive lapses cost us. We weren’t accurate enough.
“It’s not anger, it’s: ‘Why did we have such a good first half and then we didn’t play the same way in the second? What changed in the fifteen minutes of half time?’ When you come up just short against one of the best teams in the world, it’s tough. We could’ve scored a couple more tries. If we’re going to progress as a country we’re going to have to start winning these games.”
Scotland now have a week off, before taking on France in Paris (where they haven’t won since 1999), followed by currently undefeated in this campaign Wales (who have been comfortable victors the last two times these team have met) at home, and then England (who are on fire at the moment and haven’t lost to Scotland at Twickenham since 1983).
“We have three of the toughest games to come,” said Russell. “These are the situations you love to be in when you’re on the back foot and you have to come out fighting. We’re going to give it all we’ve got to finish as high as we can.
“The first half [against Ireland] showed how good we can be. In the second we took the foot off the gas, allowed them into the game and they took control. Three slip-ups cost us.
“There was a lot of knock-ons and we gave away penalties in the second half. Whenever we got into their half we struggled to keep hold of the ball. I threw a forward pass. Once you make one mistake you make another and it’s a snowball effect
“We should be able to fix those mistakes in France. We’ll need to be at our best if we are to win over there.”
While most of his team-mates will remain in the capital to prepare to face Jacques Brunel’s side and have next weekend off to recharge their batteries, Russell is heading back across the Channel to his club, with the possibility of being involved for Racing 92 against Toulouse next weekend.
“I’ll be fine if I have to go back to Racing and play during the Championship’s week off,” he said. “I’m mentally prepared to go maybe seven or eight games on the bounce. That’s just the way it is. I think my body will hold up alright.”