Scotland captain Stuart Hogg believes that Finn Russell’s unpredictability is what makes him one of the best flyhalves in the game.
Scotland will be hoping to retain the Calcutta Cup when they commence the 2022 Six Nations championship at home to England, and Hogg is counting on Russell for a fast start in conditions expected to be wet and windy.
“Finn Russell is up there with the best 10s in the world because he understands the game incredibly well, and I think half the time he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Hogg said. “So, if he doesn’t know what he’s doing, then everybody else has no bloody clue.
“England will have a strategy to try and keep him quiet, but I’m sure he’ll find ways to have a big impact on the game.”
England defence coach Anthony Seibold is well aware of the challenge: “Finn’s a super-talented player.
“How do you take away his weapons? He wants time and space so he can ball play and use his really effective kicking game, both short and long, so you need to take away time and space.
“That’s easier said than done, of course.”
England also have a gifted flyhalf in Marcus Smith, but the 22-year-old is only five caps into a promising international career that continues with his Six Nations debut on Saturday.
“Marcus has been outstanding. One of the things that I’ve been super impressed with is his work ethic,” said Seibold.
“He’s a good young bloke and I think we need to give him the time and space to have an impact.”
Scotland have lost just one of their last four matches against England and last year ended a 38-year-wait for a win at Twickenham.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sometimes worried about playing England, especially in the early years,” said Hogg.
“For me, being a ‘rugby pig’ growing up, some of the names you used to play against for England, it was quite a scary task.
“Not now. I truly believe in the ability of myself and the ability of the squad that we can go out there and win, and it has shown over the last four years or so.
“We view England the same as every other team. We respect them highly, individually and collectively, they are one of the best sides in world rugby.
“But we know we can compete with them.”
© Agence France-Presse