Repeat: Off The Ball

10:00 PM-12:00 AM

Repeat: Off The Ball


Scotland no longer rely on Finn Russell the way they used to

BBC journalist Tom English joined Monday Night Rugby to discuss Scotland and Finn Russell. Irela...

BBC journalist Tom English joined Monday Night Rugby to discuss Scotland and Finn Russell.

Ireland face Scotland on Sunday in what could be a championship-deciding game.

Scotland are no longer playing for a Grand Slam after losing to France last week. But the performance in France suggests that they are a very real threat to derail Ireland's Championship hopes. Murrayfield is never an easy place to play and this is the best Scotland team of at least the last 10 years.

At the centre of everything that Scotland do is Finn Russell.

Russell and Stuart Hogg are still the faces of Scottish rugby. But it's no longer all about them. They no longer need to carry the team the way they have in the past. That is thanks to improvements elsewhere. The forward pack is particularly improved, with Matt Fagerson a particularly good addition.

Duhan van der Merwe has been a superstar on the wing who can create his own scores from deep also. But Tom English thinks the new faces in midfield is where things have really changed for Scotland.

"The midfield has been a revelation," English said.

"Jones and Tuipulotou. Absolutely deadly. Working in tandem with Russell of course, but the two of them have taken a bit of the creative burden off of Russell. And they've actually asked questions of opposing defences so it's not just about Russell anymore.

"It's about the two guys in the midfield and it's about the wrecking ball outside in Duhan van der Merwe. So the Scottish threats are all over the place now."

Ireland allowed Italy to run through their backline over and over again last week. That was a defensive line without Garry Ringrose and Jonathan Sexton though, so the hope for Andy Farrell is that his front-line starters can handle the creativity of Scotland's backline.

Jack Conan to start for Ireland again?


Team of Us. Everyone In.

Vodafone. The main sponsor of the Irish Rugby Team

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.

Read more about

Finn Russell Ireland Ireland Rugby Scotland Scotland Rugby Six Nations