Gregor Townsend may have made a name for himself as a maverick during his talented playing career but he is by no means a reckless gambler.
nyone, who witnessed his control on the Lions tour in 1997 can confirm that.
Fast-forward and with country times increasingly loose, he decided now was the time to remove the trump card from his pack and throw it away.
Finn Russell, a more extravagant but wildly inconsistent presence at the age of ten than his coach, has paid the price for his recent rudeness and excessive flattery.
It remains to be seen what tax can be claimed on the coach, staring down the barrel before another defeat to Ireland and with it, a perennial finish further towards the basement of the Six Nations table than its summit.
Russell’s demotion shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to Scotland watchers, who have seen the growing lack of discipline and his recklessness curtailing his influence over the world. with the team.
It is assumed that it was Blair Kinghorn, rather than the expected bystander, Adam Hastings, who replaced him.
The Edinburgh man has started all but one of his 20 Tests since making his debut in 2018 at full-back or breakout full-back; Last fall represented his first match at 10 games against Tonga.
Two years ago, Townsend and Russell were involved in a fairly public argument when the latter violated a curfew; The couple finally decided to settle each other’s differences in the national interest.
Townsend clearly now feels that it is time to make another bold decision.
It remains to be seen which of them will appear better for it.
Andy Farrell thinks the Blair switch project will not change the style of Scotland and certainly, Kinghorn possesses many attributes that a striker must have.
He has an explosive kick, but also has a delicate attack, right and left; he can pass and, with an eye into space, ghost into a void with a wise but accelerating thrust.
And yet, as the Irishman argues they don’t want to routinely test alternatives under the harshest of pressures unless urgently required, the decision sends him into the abyss at this stage of his career. The enemy seems odd, at best.
Townsend took great pains to emphasize that this was a long-term gamble, rather than a short-term one, when asked when he first saw the player’s international potential at the age of ten.
“The move to play there at the end of last season, when Edinburgh started to be more open to their game – that gave me encouragement.
“The game has also changed. For me, that position is now about someone who can run with the ball and pass with the ball, not five or 10 years ago it was more of a kicker.
“The kick is now an attacking kick, putting pressure on the teams. And you see the world’s best 10 can do that, and we’re so lucky that not only Blair but he’s a better fit for where he is now.
“It could also be his age and maturity, that he is better in a position where you will make more mistakes and there will be more external and internal pressure on you.
“He was a No 10 all his career until he turned 15, and then he was a very good winger for us, so the fact that he can play more than one position is a big deal. a truly impressive and valuable asset to the team.
“I’m not sure I would say that is wanting to see him tested. I look at it more in terms of what he can do to help us win.
“The more I watch him compete and train, the more I encourage him in that role. And so much more to come from him. ”
Townsend’s conundrum is whether he needs much more from him right now or else his picks could reflect a coach desperately trying to forge a bright future. regardless of their current status.
“You have to reward if you feel it will help the team,” he insisted.
“We are clearly well aware that we have someone with real experience on the bench who can add to or change our game or do what’s right if called up.”
The degree to which he needs to play that particular card could prove important not only to tomorrow’s outcome but the entire direction of Townsend’s tenure.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/six-nations/gregor-townsend-takes-a-punt-on-blair-switch-project-41460063.html Gregor Townsend joins Blair switching project