Gregor Townsend recalls Finn Russell to Scotland squad for Guinness Six Nations

Finn Russell returns to the Scotland squad for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations tournament.

The fly-half injured himself against Wales last November and missed the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup but is included in Gregor Towsend’s 35-man group.

Players who could potentially make their Scotland debuts include Edinburgh hooker David Cherry, Sale hooker Ewan Ashman, Gloucester forward Alex Craig and Bath centre Cameron Redpath.

Linking up at half-back will be Racing 92’s Russell and Edinburgh’s Jaco Van de Walt, who made his Scotland debut in the ANC semi-final against Ireland.

Townsend said: “As coaches we have selected a group which we believe can build on the work our players put in throughout the recent Autumn Nations Cup campaign and kick on again in terms of performance levels.

“The depth we have across the squad enables us to bring in some new players who have excelled in recent weeks and others who we believe can perform at Test level.

The campaign begins with the Calcutta Cup clash against England on Saturday, February 6.

Townsend said: “Our tournament gets off to a fantastic start with a fixture we look forward to every year against England and the opportunity to win back the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham.

“We are very aware how different this year’s competition will be due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it also provides a huge amount of positivity and enjoyment for millions of supporters and we are looking forward to contesting every match and giving this championship our very best.”

Returning to the squad, split between 20 forwards and 15 backs, are also Newcastle Falcons back rower Gary Graham, Sale Sharks wing Byron McGuigan, Glasgow Warriors hooker Grant Stewart and London Irish prop Alan Dell.

In the pack Glasgow Warriors hooker George Turner is selected and joined in the front row by Zander Fagerson and Oli Kebble from Glasgow Warriors, alongside Edinburgh Rugby representatives WP Nel, Rory Sutherland and Simon Berghan.

Glasgow Warriors’ lock pairing Richie Gray and Scott Cummings and Exeter Chiefs Jonny Gray are called up, along with Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist, who left the ANC squad with an injury before the opening match.

Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie, who have both recently re-signed to long-term deals to stay at Edinburgh Rugby, are joined as back-row options by Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson and Scarlets’ Blade Thomson.

Townsend has chosen just two scrum-halves for the campaign, with Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price and Harlequins’ Scott Steele selected.

Gloucester’s Chris Harris, Saracen Duncan Taylor, Glasgow Warrior Huw Jones and Harlequins’ James Lang are selected at centre.

In the back three Scotland captain Stuart Hogg is joined by Edinburgh Rugby trio Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham and Duhan Van de Merwe and Saracens’ Sean Maitland.