Finn Russell is relishing his role as one of Scotland’s elder statesmen as the fly-half looks to help the next generation settle into the squad.
Russell may be 28 but he is set to win his 52nd Test cap on Saturday when Scotland head south to try and wrestle the Calcutta Cup back off England.
The playmaker made his Test debut in 2014 and says he has enjoyed working with the likes of uncapped 21-year-old Cameron Redpath in the build-up to the 2021 Championship.
“I was chatting to Cammy Redpath and obviously it’s his first inclusion and he’s only 21, and that’s the age I was when I got my first cap,” he said.
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“It has gone by fast; you don’t really think about it like that. It’s one of those that when you’re playing with young guys, it makes you realise that I’m probably one of the more experienced here.
“Myself and Hoggy are 28 years old, so in rugby you’re getting on, but in life you’re not that old. We’re seen to be some of the more experienced guys and it does go by really quickly.
“If I’m lucky I’ve got another three, four, five years playing for Scotland depending on who’s coming through.
“It’s making me appreciate more being in the squad and playing for my country, whereas before it was the excitement of being still young and after seven years it’s given me a slightly different view on it.”
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Russell is back in the international fold after missing much of the 2020 Championship for breaching team protocols and the Autumn Nations Cup through injury.
But he now returns to the scene of one of his best performances, two years on from inspiring Scotland to recover from 31-0 down to draw 38-38 with England.
“It was a great game to be part of and there was a lot of learning in that game, but I was still so disappointed at the end thinking that was a game we could have won,” he said.
“But then if you think about that at half-time no one would have expected that result so we had to be happy with a draw, whereas looking back when we had five minutes to go and we were seven points up, it was tough to take but that’s sport and you can’t really say that we should have won that game because England should have won it after that first half.”