Scotland fly-half Finn Russell has signalled his intention to repair the rift between him and head coach Gregor Townsend.
Russell shared his willingness to speak with Townsend but his return to the Scotland fold won’t come without some guarantees he wants Townsend to grant.
The Racing 92 back was sent home from Scotland’s team hotel in the week which preceded their Six Nations opener against Ireland in February for drinking in hours not stipulate by team protocol.
Russell hasn’t featured for Scotland since and strained the player-coach relationship further when offering his side of the argument to a Scottish newspaper.
There had been conversations towards the end of the Six Nations between Russell and Townsend, however, which have gone some way to smoothing over the cracks.
“The way it has all come out is what it is, but I think me and Gregor actually now have a better understanding of each other having called each other during the Six Nations, and I think now he has a better understanding of where I’m coming from,” Russell told RugbyPass.
“I think there will be a lot of discussions and catch-ups to fix it, which will be good.
“In the long-run it will be good for us as well, not just in the short-term to try and just fix things and patch it over. I think going forward for myself, Gregor and the team, it will be good that we can actually have a better relationship with each other and we can actually properly work forward.”
Fractures between the two had surfaced as early as last year’s eventual 36-36 draw at Twickenham against England. When, trailing 31-0 at half-time, Russell blew his lid on team tactics in the dressing room.
The first step in reconciling their relationship came prior to the France game when Russell offered to brief Townsend and Scotland staff on the strengths of the France team based on his experience in the Top 14.
“I spoke to him before the France game and tried to help him out,” he added.
“In the fallow week before the France game I called Gregor and said that I didn’t know if I was going to get called back in or not, but I think for everyone it is best that we just leave it for now and start again after the Six Nations and move forward from there.
“I’d been back here – back and forward – and there had been a lot of talking and I think it was better just for me to just make a decision to stop it before the last two games and let the boys go ahead and focus on the game without any of the journalists chatting about it again. And then I said to Gregor that we can start working on this again after the Six Nations.
“It was good, it was fine. I think just now with nothing on I will give him a call at some point, have a chat and try to move things on.”
On February 25, Townsend conceded the ‘door is open’ for Russell to return.
The earliest opportunity would come on Scotland’s tour of South Africa scheduled for July, where if he was to make an appearance Russell would win his 50th cap.