Exile Russell targets Scotland return with July tour

Paris (AFP) –


Fly-half Finn Russell said he was targeting Scotland's summer tour as a return to the Test scene after missing the Six Nations following a breakdown in his relationship with coach Gregor Townsend.

Russell, who has 49 Test appearances, was unavailable for his country earlier this year after leaving the national set-up before the start of the tournament.

Townsend's side are set to head to South Africa for two matches and New Zealand for a Test in July but the fixtures are in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The stuff in the Six Nations is done now, I'm not looking at that and thinking we need to look back, it is just how can we move forward and how can we get better as a team?" Russell told broadcasters BT Sport.

"If the summer tour goes ahead or not, I think that's the target.

"That's my plan anyway, to try and get back by then," Russell added.

The 27-year-old said the press had made an issue out of his disagreement with Townsend.

"There wasn't a massive fallout, I think things were blown out of proportion a bit which happens in the media," the Racing 92 outside-half said.

"We are speaking, it is not like there was a massive disagreement or 'I am never playing for you again'," he added.

But Russell said their relationship had improved on a personal level since the COVID-19 outbreak started.

"I have been chatting to Gregor the last couple of weeks, not as player-coach but just as a chat in terms of 'how you getting on? What you doing in isolation? What you been up to?'," he said.

"It was up and down during the Six Nations but I think we are both going to move forward in terms of progressing, which is great."