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Russell is urging Scotland to play it cool

Laid-back: Finn Russell will lead Scotland’s attack in Japan
Laid-back: Finn Russell will lead Scotland’s attack in Japan

By Duncan Bech

Finn Russell has told his Scotland team-mates not to let stage fright wreck their final World Cup audition on Saturday.

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Gregor Townsend's squad have one final chance to shine against Georgia in Tbilisi before the head coach announces the 31 players he will be taking to Japan.

Racing 92 playmaker Russell is normally the coolest performer in the Dark Blues camp, but he has extra reason to be calm in the lead-up to Townsend's squad unveiling next Tuesday given his role as the Scottish attack's undisputed leading man.

The stand-off's place is all but guaranteed, but he is aware some of his colleagues still have some convincing to do in order to book their seat on the plane to Asia.

But he urged the rest of Townsend's hopefuls to stay relaxed under the Dinamo Arena spotlight as he admitted fluffed lines could be costly.

Russell said: "You've got to look forward to these games. If you're going to get tense then you might not perform as well.

"I know there might be pressure on players to perform and get a win away from home. But if you over-think it and worry then the chances are you won't play as well. It's better if you back yourself."

The only thing now likely to prevent Russell from facing Ireland in the Scots' Group A opener at the International Stadium in Yokohama on September 22 is injury.

But Russell lived up to his laid-back reputation as he shrugged off the suggestion the next couple of games were all about staying out of trouble.

He said: "You can't go out thinking about not getting injured. It's a contact sport and injuries are going to happen. That's the way it is.

"Personally, I don't think about that, and neither will many of the boys."

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