Six Nations key stars: Maverick Finn Russell critical to Scotland’s attack

Dylan Coetzee
Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell with ball in hand during a six nations match

The 2023 Six Nations begins this weekend, and fans can expect another blockbuster Championship filled with sensational rugby, team tries and moments of individual brilliance.

In anticipation of the start of Rugby’s Greatest Championship, Planet Rugby has a closer look at key players from each team, next up Scotland’s Finn Russell.


Russell was born into a sporting family, with his father involved with sports administration, including the role of Director of Domestic Rugby for the Scottish Rugby Union.

The star progressed well through the youth ranks in Scotland, earning a spot in the World Rugby U20 Championship squad in 2012, where he played as a centre. In the same year, Russell joined Glasgow Warriors.

Interestingly, a year later, the Scot received a scholarship that saw him spend 15 weeks in New Zealand, where he would play for local clubs in the Christchurch area whilst benefiting from facilities and coach at the Canterbury Rugby Union.

He would return to Scotland and stay with Glasgow until 2018, when he moved to Racing 92 in France. The fly-half will return to the United Kingdom with Premiership side Bath next season.

Russell made his Test debut in 2014 and would go on to notch over 50 caps for his country. However, only in 2015 was Russell first-choice for Scotland when he came into his own on the international scene.

This earned him a spot on two British & Irish Lions tours in 2017 to New Zealand, where he featured in one mid-week game and in 2021 to South Africa, where he earned his sole cap for the famous side.


Russell is one of the most free-flowing attacking players in the world. He has outstanding vision and the skill set to match. The Scot is up there with some of the most exciting attacking players in the world.

The 30-year-old can get the most out of his teammates, whether through a clever kick in behind, a well-timed pass or attacking the line on his own.

As a playmaker, Russell is nothing short of electric.


Russell’s greatest weakness is his poor work rate, particularly on defence. This was exposed dramatically in last year’s Six Nations against France, where he cleared up the field and chased the ball, but as soon as Antoine Dupont got around him, he made little effort to retreat defensively. As a result, France exploited the channel vacated by the fly-half and scored a brilliant try.

Six Nations history

Whilst Russell has no silverware to show for his career in the Six Nations, the Scot has been a prominent figure for his side whenever selected.

One of his greatest moments in the Championship was Scotland’s famous 25-13 win over England in 2018, where Russell threw an outrageous pass deep in his territory to Huw Jones, which ultimately set up a Sean Maitland try that proved decisive on the day.

Why Russell is crucial for Scotland

Scotland is an entirely different prospect without Russell. The fly-half increases the attacking output of the side, making them a far more complex side to defend.

Based on last year’s results, this is plain to see as the side lost their mid-year series against Argentina without Russell and did not show their best in the Autumn Nations Series Tests against the Wallabies and Fiji.

Contrastingly, arguably the team’s two best performances came in the 23-31 loss to the All Blacks and the 52-29 demolition of Argentina where Russell was present, guiding his side around the park.

Despite the issues between him and coach Gregor Townsend, the fly-half is a must-select, as Scotland is simply more dangerous with the playmaker pulling the strings.

READ MORE: Six Nations: The greatest line-up in the history of the Championship