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Gregor Townsend plays down talk of imminent Finn Russell exit

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend insists Finn Russell is going nowhere.

The stand-off has been linked with a host of French and English clubs, including Bath and Gloucester, after further enhancing his reputation in recent weeks by outshining opposite number Dan Carter during the Warriors' back-to-back wins over Racing 92.

Reports claim the Scottish Rugby Union faces a fight to hold onto the 24-year-old in the summer with clubs prepared to buy out the final year of his contract.

But Townsend told STV: "He's contracted and we look forward to him being here for the next season and a half, and hopefully beyond.

"Obviously our work is to get the best out of Finn and the best out of the team. He's put in a lot of work in training and he's getting the rewards by playing really well.

"He seems very happy here and obviously he has got a contract for the next couple of seasons, so we will make the most of his time here and we can't predict what will happen after that."

Russell will start alongside scrum-half Ali Price as Glasgow host Cardiff in the Guinness PRO12 on Saturday as co-captain Henry Pyrgos is rested.

Jonny Gray returns to skipper the side as nine players come back into the team in total. Sila Puafisi misses out through concussion while winger Lee Jones is back after injury.

Townsend's side have recorded four consecutive wins and are looking to break into the top four ahead of their Champions Cup double-header against Munster and Leicester.

"This will be our last Guinness PRO12 fixture for over a month, so it's a very important game for us," he told the club's official website.

"We have built up some good momentum in recent weeks through the hard work of our playing squad, and we face another tough challenge.

"Cardiff have been in the top half of the table for the last 18 months and had a great start to the season, including a win against us.

"They like to play attacking rugby and like us they are used to playing on a fast pitch, so it should be a great occasion in front of another capacity crowd at Scotstoun."

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