LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 19 – Scotland fly-half Finn Russell has been ruled out of Saturday’s Six Nations match away to France with a head injury, Scottish Rugby announced Tuesday.
The influential playmaker was substituted before half-time for Paris-based club side Racing 92 in Sunday’s loss to Toulouse and failed the initial head injury assessment.
Russell had six days in which to satisfy protocols for returning from a head injury and when he joined up with the Scotland camp symptom free on Monday, team management felt there was still an outside chance he could face France.
But the Scottish Rugby Union statement put paid to those hopes on Tuesday, with a statement saying: “The 26-year-old playmaker has not satisfied the requirements of today’s component of the graduated return to play protocol — two days on from sustaining the injury in Racing 92’s Top 14 clash with Toulouse — meaning there is insufficient time for him to be considered for this weekend’s action.
“He will now return to the care of his club’s medical team.”
Russell is the second key member of Scotland’s back division ruled out of the France match, with full-back Stuart Hogg having already been sidelined with a shoulder injury suffered during a 22-13 Six Nations defeat by Ireland last time out at Murrayfield on February 10.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, whose side are currently third in this season’s Championship standings after starting with a win over Italy, is due to name his team to play France on Thursday.
Monday saw Townsend add six players to his squad, including Worcester fly-half Duncan Weir.
Scottish players based at clubs abroad — like Russell — can still feature for the national team, unlike the situation in England.
Had Russell been at Glasgow or Edinburgh, however, it was likely he would have been rested for last weekend’s round of Pro14 matches as was the case with several of his Scotland team-mates.
His injury highlights the problems countries with a relatively small playing base such as Scotland face when leading players opt for more lucrative club deals overseas.
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