FINN RUSSELL looks set to miss Scotland’s Six Nations clash with France next Saturday after suffering a head knock while playing for Racing 92 in their Top 14 clash with Toulouse yesterday [Sunday].
Russell, who had scored the first of his side’s four tries and created another for Juan Imhoff in a match that ended in a 34-29 defeat, left the pitch for a head injury assessment (HIA) two minutes before half time.
The stand-off, who has been in fine form for Scotland during the first two rounds of this year’s Six Nations, collided with the knee of Toulouse winger Lucas Tauzin and remained on the ground for some time. He did not return to the fray after the break although French media reported at the time that the HIA had been negative.
However, it was reported in the first edition Monday’s Midi Olympique – the respected French sports newspaper – that Russell will definitely miss next Saturday’s match at Stade de France.
This would be a significant set-back at the best of times, but with leading attacking threats Stuart Hogg and Huw Jones already sidelined for Saturday’s clash in Paris, the absence of such an influential attacking threat would be a particularly grievous blow to Scotland’s chances.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Hogg will not need surgery on the shoulder injury he suffered against Ireland in round two of the Six Nations, and could be back in time to play England in the final match of the Championship, although the Wales game the week before appears to be too early.
Russell had a mixed contribution before his early departure in Sunday’s match. He was scintillating going forward but was at fault for the first of Toulouse’s tries and a second touchdown came as a result of an attack through the stand-off channel that Racing failed to defend.
Scrum-half Teddy Iribaren came to the defence of his half back colleague, saying; “A ten should have the support of the players on his inside. There were many things we didn’t do in this match, especially in defence where we weren’t at it, me as much as anyone.”
He has had concussion issues in the past. Three years ago, while at Glasgow, he suffered a serious injury when he collided with his colleague Zander Fagerson during the PRO12 semi-final against Connacht.
On a positive note for Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, second-row Richie Gray continued his return from injury with an 80 minute contribution for Toulouse who now top the league table.
Two points adrift in second spot are Clermont Auvergne, for whom Greig Laidlaw booted four penalties and all four conversions in a 40-15 win over Bordeaux Begles on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Racing 92 have ensured that they will not be left exposed at stand-off during the remainder of the current season. They have signed Francois Trinh-Duc as back up for Russell following the recent retirement of Pat Lambie, but the French international will not be leaving Toulon until the end of the current season. In the interim, Racing have resigned Dan Carter on a three-month deal. The 37-year-old has been released by his Japanese club Kobelco Steelers and has agreed to return to Paris to rejoin his former club on a salary of €25,000 per month.