Finn brings the good biscuits

Finn Russell has been banned for three matches – including Edinburgh’s match vs Racing92 in the Champions Cup this weekend – following his red card in the historic win in Paris at the weekend.

He appeared before an independent Disciplinary Committee via a Zoom call yesterday.

Russell had received a red card for an infringement of Law 9.12 (A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking).

In making his case, Finn accepted that he had committed an act of foul play and that it had warranted a red card. However, he did not accept that he had ‘struck’ Mr Dulin and suggested that the foul play should have been categorised as an infringement of Law 9.24 (A ball-carrier is permitted to hand off an opponent provided excessive force is not used).

The Disciplinary Committee decided that Mr Russell’s actions had been properly categorised as striking with the arm under Law 9.12 and found the offence to warrant a mid-range entry point (six weeks) which was then reduced to three weeks for general acceptance of his punishment as well as his sporting check that Dulin was okay as he left the field of play.

Although he does have a right of appeal, Mr Russell will be free to play again on Monday, 19 April 2021 or Monday, 26 April 2021 depending on how Racing’s fixtures pan out.

It finishes a mixed tournament for the Scottish standoff who went into it with a mix of hype and detraction but eventually emerged somewhere in the middle, having failed (even with that red card) to do anything truly catastrophic nor anything truly spellbinding.

Whether his last act in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations does him any favours in terms of Lions selection is more certain, with the act offering coach Warren Gatland a ready made excuse to pull out of the large sack he already keeps beside his desk labelled “Scottish players and mental weakness – justifications for not picking”.

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42 comments on “Finn brings the good biscuits

  1. PeteMak on

    Finn Russell we have no further opportunities to push his case for Lions selection as he is unable to play when Racing get knocked out of the European Champions Cup this weekend

    Reply
  2. Saint4805 on

    “Mr Russell’s prompt acceptance that his actions had constituted foul play and been worthy of a red card, his disciplinary record, his attitude to the disciplinary process before and during the hearing, and his clear remorse”.

    These hearings are just rinse and repeat. Accept the foul play and red card regardless of the circumstances and you get a 50% discount.

    Reply
    • Alanyst on

      The issue is that the entry points are all now way too high, now that red cards are given for pretty routine infringements.

      The maximum 50% reduction is needed in every case to have any sanity whatsoever.

      Reply
  3. Merlot on

    It would be typical of Gatland to take just two fly-halves with Farrell and Hogg as potential cover. In which case does he take Sexton and Biggar – tried and trusted and to be fair, winners over Scotland. Or the “mercurial” Russell?
    I think I know the answer.

    Reply
    • Saint4805 on

      The thing with Biggar is that his best game in the 6N was his last against France which is fresh in people’s memories. He was anonymous against Ireland and average against England.
      If Toonie is confirmed as attack coach then you’d like to think he’d have a big say in the selection of backs. A lot will depend on what the game plan is and which players fit best in terms of executing that plan.

      Reply
      • 1.8T on

        Bit like Sexton, epitome of mediocrity as usually until the last game where he played well against a crap England, but that’s what the pundits are all crowing about.

    • Warks Scot on

      Merlot, think you have a very valid point given that the touring party will need to be limited. Think it will count against Mish too given his open side specialism.
      Personally, I quite like the idea of the Lions tour being hosted here; we could potentially have some kind of crowd, we could tour the home nations and have a bigger squad, perhaps even stipulating a maximum number of any one nation’s players!! The risks of trying to hold it in SA to me far outweigh the benefits – it’s never going to be a “normal” Lions tour so why not take the opportunity to mix it up a bit.
      Glad I don’t have to organize or pick the squad for the tour.

      Reply
  4. Sam Laycock on

    Can anyone tell me how neither Houas last year or Willemse this year were categorised under law 9.12 with a 6 week entry point but Finn was??? How Willemse didn’t accept his charge of contact with the eye but got full mitigation yet Zander got a week added to his ban. How evidence of no injury was taken into account for Willemse but not for Zander.
    And this follows on from the player release debacle and the covid breach. My last post on this subject got deleted but the evidence speaks for itself.

    Reply
    • Merlot on

      I’m fed up (actually furious) with these disciplinary hearings too, Sam. There seems to be no consistency and certainly a lack of transparency. How contrite, apologetic or accepting of punishment a player is, should have nothing to do with the punishment.
      The only things which should be taken into account are
      1. How deliberate was the offence? Off-balance, a trailing arm is an instinctive thing which may result in a high tackle, but is completely different to a 1990s Samoan-style trying to knock your head off.
      2. How dangerous was the offence? Certainly whether the receiving player was injured, and potentially could have been seriously injured.
      3. Previous disciplinary record. To my mind a good (and for that I mean clean) record should be the minimum. Any previous yellow/red cards should ADD to the punishment, and especially for repeat offences. (Yes, you POM).
      4. Any mitigating circumstances. A player ducking into the tackle, for instance, or a red being for a second yellow card after “taking one for the team”.

      What should NOT be taken into account, is how the player performs at the hearing. Unless, of course they perform negatively. Swearing and cursing at the judges, or railing against the injustices of the system, should be frowned upon. LOL

      Reply
      • FraserR on

        Very good post Merlot.
        It’s insane that not kicking up a fuss and just agreeing with the card is the main factor in how long you are banned for.
        Surely this actively discourages players from challenging the decision – something that is massively illegal in any other profession.

      • Sam Laycock on

        Yeah Merlot, completely agree with your point. It actively seeks to punish marginal calls where a player has made a good faith attempt to play by the rules and possibly just got it a bit wrong compared to clear, deliberate or cynical acts where you know you’ve not got a leg to stand on so just go cap in hand and say sorry sir won’t do it again sir and get full mitigation even when you’ve got a reputation and clear track record of that kind of play such as POM or Owen Farrell.

    • Stripe on

      Sam,

      What’s your take on Genge escaping citing for repeatedly banjoing Sexton in the IRE-ENG game?

      It’s illogical that someone who behaves as he did (i.e. with clear intent to injure) should escape sanction when at least three of the players red-carded in this year’s 6 Nations (Finn, Zander and Aki) were (at worst) guilty of being a little reckless.

      Reply
      • Sam Laycock on

        yeah it looked terrible although I would say that I’ve only seen a very low resolution video from twitter and there is some suggestion he was being held by Sexton but it didn’t look like that to me. I’m firmly of the opinion that the citing commissioner’s only job is to check the TV coverage and make sure anything that might have been picked up in the commentary or analysis is cited, not to actually watch the game for himself. hence why Liam Williams on Lang and Genge on Sexton weren’t actioned. (or that Michilak incident on Hogg from a few years ago)

      • Stripe on

        Sam,

        The thing about the Genge/Sexton episode was that Sexton made the referee aware of it, only to be informed that it ‘would be looked at later’.

        Poor refereeing and a nasty incident left to go unpunished. Not my idea of justice.

  5. Gaffer on

    I honestly believe the Lions has lost its cachet for us. Scotland players have been under represented for the last 5 tours and I can’t see that being rectified this tour either.
    There is always the anticipation that touring players will improve as a result of the exposure to the pressurised environment and this is evidenced by the amount of Welsh payers selected for the lions since the turn of the millennium and how well the Welsh team have subsequently performed in the 6 nations. However, given their players are playing under Garland and employing the same ‘warrenball’ tactics for the lions and for wales the transition is going to suit them. keep doing the same things over and over and you will get better at it.
    The 2005 tour under Woodward was a disaster, the 20001 tour under graham Henry not much better, the 2013 tour saw the lions play an Australian team that Scotland could have beaten single handedly so I’m not sure we really are missing anything, apart from what happens in an individuals head when he is picked and therefore ‘deemed’ the best in his position amongst his peers or not selected when playing the rugby of his life and thus left deflated.
    I think the team would benefit more from a summer tour to New Zealand further developing our own brand of rugby and to hell with the lions

    Reply
    • Johnny b on

      It has been hurtful having so few players but it’s difficult to say it’s unjustified. Scotland team have been dispirited, even lately when they’ve had some talent. They haven’t turned up, heads have gone down.
      Last couple of seasons that’s changed a little so that should help.
      We still haven’t won a 6N or European Championship at club level tho.
      I would say 5 – 7 players is what we should expect in the initial squad.
      The other teams will provide 9-12 players each.
      This will still make a big difference to those players and means we might see a starter for the 1st time in 20 years.

      Reply
      • FF on

        I think that would be about right.

        However I can’t get my head around the pundits saying Gatland will take players he trusts, confident he can get performances out of them even if they’ve been poor recently.

        That sounds like an excuse to take Mako, Billy, Daly, George, May etc who’ve been playing like drains and there are better players who should be ahead of them. Lions isn’t a club side and Gatland should pick those currently deserving.

        But if we had 5-7 Lions and a couple of test starters I think we could be reasonably happy. It probably all rests on whether Toonie is in the coaching team.

    • Pirate 4 on

      I lived in SA during the 1997 and 2009 Lions Tours and found it very difficult to support them. In 1997 the Lions were basically England in red jerseys.

      Reply
  6. Neil on

    My Team to play Montpellier.

    Rufus McClean – Lee Jones – Huw Jones – Sam Johnson – Niko Matawalu – Adam Hastings – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Tom Gordon – Ryan Wilson – Richie Gray – Leone Nakarawa – Zander Fagerson – George Turner – Oli Kebble

    Nick Grigg – Ross Thompson – George Horne – Rob Harley – Kiran Mcdonald – Enrique Pieretto – Fraser Brown – Aki Seiuli

    Team to Play Racing

    Blair Kinghorn – Darcy Graham – Mark Bennett – Chris Dean – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Jaco Van Der Valt – Charlie Shiel – Nick Haining – Hamish Watson – Jamie Ritchie – Grant Gilchrist – Villiame Mata – Simon Berghan – Dave Cherry – Rory Sutherland

    Eroni Sau – George Taylor – Henry Pyrgos – Mesu Kunavula – Jamie Hodgson – Willem Nel – Mike Willemse – Pierre Schoeman

    Reply
  7. alythman on

    Re Edinburgh and Glasgow – is there poor season purely down to availability of International players and things will improve next season, or is this likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Confess to not knowing enough of this level to make a judgement – all I can see is a disappointing season where they been vying for honours in recent times

    Reply
    • FinlayD on

      Both have definitely underperformed this season – Glasgow in particular have been tough to watch- but I would say there’s reasons to be more hopeful for 2021/22. Edinburgh have ‘suffered’ from now being the larger provider to the national team. When combined with a brutal injury list, it was always going to be tough to reach the heights of last season. The Warriors have recruited well (McKay, Miotti, Cancelliere), but next season will probably be a continuation of the squads transition to the next generation. If some of the young lads that have been given a chance recently can keep developing, they may end up having a pretty good year.

      Reply
  8. Sam Laycock on

    I was heartened to see Townsend talking about the possibility of getting some fixtures in the summer possibly, Romania, Spain or Georgia, possibly Japan, and possibly and England A side. Ive been thinking about what sort of develomental side Scotland might use for that. Obviously “all” our Lions would be away.

    Schoeman, Ashman, Bergan, Craig, Skinner, Thomson, M. Fagerson, Gordon, Dobie, Hastings, Graham, Redpath, Hutchinson, Mclean, Kinghorn

    Keeble, Brown, Nel, R.Gray, Crosbie, Horne, Thomson, G.Taylor.

    Basically this came about from imagining a back line which included Dobie, Russell, Redpath and Hutchinson and the distribution skills of that quartet. Can you imagine how fast a ball would travel along that line? It would be like it was on an electric rail.

    Reply
      • Sam Laycock on

        This line up is really about putting all the best passers in one back line, although Hastings being a good approximation for Russell. I’m not convinced Jones’ passing is really up to scratch so I’m giving him the summer off to relocate to the south of France. I’m not making him sit on the bench vs Spain, we have to be reasonable here.

  9. Peter on

    I just read a BBC survey of 14000 participants picks for the Lions tour. I really don’t understand why there is any discussion of who should be at 10. They picked Sexton!
    Have any of them looked at just how immense Finn Russell is?
    He is a different category of player than anybody that’s ever played at 10. Immense, sensational, alert, fast, fantastic.

    Or do we just want to follow the same path all the time and not explore new ways of playing.

    So annoyed that it could actually end up binning the greatest player I have ever seen.

    Reply
    • DesT on

      The issue is that most people watch people outside of their own country during the 6N. Anyone watching Finn behind the dominant lack of Racing would see what he would be like in the Lions.

      Reply
  10. James on

    I’m worried that too many commentators telling Gatland he has to pick Watson will likely make him do the opposite as he’s a belligerent…..

    Reply
    • Saint4805 on

      There are also commentators (including several ex Wales players) who have L Williams starting at 15 instead of Hogg in their Welsh Lions teams. Watson’s performance against a Warburton led Welsh back row in 2017 was one of the most impressive beat downs I have seen in a long time and yet it still wasn’t enough to earn him a call up. It would be a disgrace if he is overlooked again.

      Reply
      • Buddy on

        Not surprised , not every side likes to play the last line of defense as the first in attack. A full back with positional strength and a hard tackle makes sense. With reluctance, Williams is a better all rounder but lacks the dynamism of Hogg in attack. Howe2er , that was 4 years ago, and Williams is not what he was and Hogg is a much better player. A Lions test against South African will make Hogg.No question he will get the test spot and Williams will be there to cover.

  11. FF on

    Chat on Edinburgh forum is that Sutherland has dislocated shoulder and nerve damage. Got to think that’s likely to put him out of the running for a tour place?

    Reply
  12. JohnMc on

    Edinburgh completely overpowered by Racing this afternoon.

    Shame, as the first 20 minutes were pretty encouraging. Shipping in the first two tries as a direct result of losing two of their own line-out throws didn’t exactly help.

    Racing are a very good side.

    Reply
  13. Tam tm on

    A shame Kinghorn didn’t get really any ball from the ball he got over the last two weeks I think he should get more of a run out at 10. Subbing him so soon possibly helped his confidence as the onslaught happened soon after he went off though these two things weren’t connected!

    Reply
  14. Ian Fraser on

    Plain and simple, Do they want to carry on as always or do they want to potentially have some spectacular play making from Mr Russel on occasions. That is always exciting.

    Reply

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