The illustrious annals of the Guinness Six Nations’ greatest-ever matches were added to earlier this year when Scotland remarkably came from behind to draw against England at Twickenham.
Trailing 31-7 at half-time, a now infamous passionate dressing room exchange of ideas from the Scottish players and coaching staff, led by fly-half Finn Russell, inspired a sensational recovery and proved how strong the fight and determination is within Scotland’s camp.
Speaking about the incident for the first time since that day, Russell has now revealed how important the frank nature of the strategy discussions between players and management were and how they will continue to be at the centre of Scottish team meetings.
“With all players and coaches you need discussions like that,” he said speaking to Scottish media. “It has to be open and honest. Whether that is myself, another player, you need to have these discussions and say what you think. You might be wrong but as long as you feel comfortable saying it.
“That is what I try and get out of the young boys. I ask them, ‘what do you think of that, what do you think of this’? The more the young guys speak they will see things different to others.
“At half-time in that game something was not working. I was just saying what I thought we had to do. [Scrum-half] Greig [Laidlaw] made a few points, [head coach] Gregor [Townsend] had his points as well.
“I suppose rather than just have Gregor saying we have to do this and that the more heads you have working together the better the outcome.”
Scotland showed their class, togetherness and improving status in the world game during the Guinness Six Nations 2019, no better encapsulated than in the draw which saw them retain the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 1984.
Additionally, after his part in the stirring words during the break, it was Russell who pulled the strings during that comeback.
The tough talk was a moment which proved the camp as a whole had matured and formed a stronger bond in their efforts to move forward especially, according to Russell, in light of Scotland’s defeat to their old enemy in the Guinness Six Nations two years prior.
“Yeah it [the Calcutta Cup] was good. It’s what I’m like,” continued Russell. “I am always going to stay true to myself. If I don’t think something is working I am happy to express it.
“I suppose two years ago [when Scotland were thumped 61-21 by England] we were in the same position, weren’t we, although I suppose it was a different game.
“With the experience and confidence that has come over the last year… it is hard to say if I would have been able to say it without it.
“I was a bit frustrated at how it was going and there are probably a few factors there as to why I said it and expressed myself as I did.”