Russell: ‘We’re on par with the best’

Date published: October 19 2015

Scotland's Finn Russell revealed he and his teammates will take much confidence from the narrow loss to Australia in the World Cup quarter-final on Sunday. 

Scotland lead the match going into the final minute but Bernard Foley shattered their hopes with a last-minute penalty to seal a one point victory.

While the loss was a bitter pill to swallow, the pivot revealed that the team can take a lot from competing with the best, especially after a disastrous Six Nations campaign.

"Before the game I was thinking about the fact this is a team that went through the Six Nations without a win," said the Glasgow Warriors fly-half.

"Looking back six months ago, it was in many ways a similar story to Sunday – getting close but not managing to win.
"But when it comes to next year's Six Nations, I think it will be a different story. We will believe in ourselves now. It's not just about getting close to the best sides. We will want to beat them.

"We showed we can live with the best. For us to go and compete against a top-five side like Australia and only miss out because one decision went against us gives us a lot of confidence."

Russell added that he looked up to Australian stalwarts like Matt Giteau – who earned his 100th cap –  and scrum-half Will Genia when growing up. Playing against and nearly beating his heroes is a source of confidence for Russell.

"I remember back in the day when I was younger I would be looking up at guys like Matt Giteau and Will Genia and thinking how great they were," said the 23-year-old.

"But we showed we were as good as them, if not better for spells of the match. We're a completely different team from the Six Nations – we're on par with the best teams in the world."

The media spotlight has been put firmly on referee Craig Joubert for the penalty awarded against Scotland in the dying embers of the match. Russell didn't have too much to say about the decisions, but conceded that it was quite a "Scottish way" to end it.

"I don't know what to say about the decision," continued Russell. 

"It's disappointing for us. It maybe should have been a scrum which could have changed the game.

"But they got the penalty and Foley kicked it well. What can we do after that? It was a real Scottish way of losing. We were so close but didn't get the win. Although we're disappointed now, we can hold our heads high."