Finn Russell made his Scotland debut in 2014
Paris (AFP) - Fly-half Finn Russell said on Saturday it was a “good” thing he had been omitted from Scotland’s autumn Tests squad after guiding his club Racing 92 to a 38-81 win over Montpellier in the Top 14.
On Wednesday, coach Gregor Townsend left the 30-year-old out of his set-up for games against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Argentina based on “consistency”.
Russell, whose partner is expecting their first child in the coming weeks, flies almost two hours to Edinburgh when involved with Townsend’s side.
“Going back and forward can be tough so it’s good for me to be here and I’m enjoying my rugby here,” 64-Test playmaker Russell told Canal+.
“I think I had a smile on my face for most of the game there,” he added.
Racing’s victory, thanks to Russell’s 18-point contribution and two assists, takes the 2016 winners to eighth place after just four wins from eight matches this term.
Russell, who is out of contract next summer, made his eighth straight start of the season for the Parisians after being rested for his country’s July Test series defeat against the Pumas.
Outside Russell was captain and centre Gael Fickou who is set to be unavailable for his club until late November due to his commitments with France’s three Test matches next month.
The sides were all-square 3-3 after 17 minutes as Russell responded to Louis Carbonel’s earlier penalty.
Centre Thomas Darmon then scored for the visitors on 20 minutes before Racing took control.
Fiji No 8 Kitione Kamikamica bundled over from a rolling maul and Saili crossed thanks to a Russell pass to make it 18-10 at the break.
After the interval, the former Glasgow Warriors playmaker was involved in his club’s third and fourth tries by off-loading to Baptiste Chouzenoux who set up Donovan Taofifenua and then cross-kicking to Argentina winger Juan Imhoff.
- Long-range penalties -
Finn Russell set up Juan Imhoff for his 106th Racing 92 try
The gap was closed to 32-24 as former New Zealand 7s winger Ben Lam pounced and Darmon claimed the first double of his career.
Russell then kicked a penalty from 50 metres before England No 8 Zach Mercer went over from short range to set up a tense final nine minutes with four points between the sides.
Racing held on as Russell’s slotted a three-pointer from 55 metres. A fourth straight defeat for Saint-Andre’s leaves them in ninth spot ahead of the weekend’s other matches.
Later, Arnaud Mela lost his first game in charge of Brive since replacing the sacked Jeremy Davidson as they were humbled 27-0 at Stade Francais.
South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe crossed for a second time this season as Toulon beat Castres 28-20.
Toulon’s Les Bleus prop Jean-Baptiste Gros is a set to be ruled out for the Test matches next month after suffering a broken forearm.
Later DR Congo-born winger Madosh Tambwe scored two superb tries as Bordeaux-Begles drew 23-23 at Clermont.
On Sunday, there is a repeat of 2021’s domestic and European Champions Cup finals as top of the table Toulouse, who have a leading nine players in Les Bleus’ squad, welcome La Rochelle.