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Finn Russell omitted by Scotland for autumn internationals

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Finn Russell omitted by Scotland for autumn internationals

Fly-half Finn Russell has been omitted from Scotland’s squad for November’s autumn internationals and Stuart Hogg stripped of the captaincy as flanker Jamie Ritchie was named to lead the team in Tests against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Argentina.

Russell, once seen as a talisman for the team, was left out as Townsend recalled Adam Hastings on Wednesday and looked to continue with Blair Kinghorn at fly-half after his strong performances in the mid-year Tests against Argentina.

Russell, who would have missed the first Test against Australia at Murrayfield on Oct. 29 due to it falling outside of the Test window, has had a frosty relationship with the coach since walking out on the squad prior to the Six Nations in 2020 when he publicly criticised Townsend’s methods.

He returned after patching up his differences but was dropped for this year’s Six Nations finale against Ireland after being one of six players on an unauthorised night out at an Edinburgh bar, and then rested for the tour of Argentina.

“Finn Russell is someone who has played a lot for us in the past and has missed out. It is a challenge for him to show his form and consistency [at club level] over the next few weeks,” Townsend told a news conference.

Hogg returns after also missing the three-Test series in Argentina but with Ritchie now skippering the side.

Scotland have handed a first call up to former Australia international Jack Dempsey, who qualifies through his Scottish grandfather.

The loose forward won 14 caps for the Wallabies but is allowed to switch allegiance under World Rugby’s birthright transfer rules following a three-year cooling off period.

Stafford McDowall is the only uncapped player in the backs and earns his call-up after impressing at Glasgow Warriors.

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