—– Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) November 20, 2017
“& ldquo; Competition is everything,” & rdquo; McFarland stated. “& ldquo; We do have players who are hurt who have a superb performance history betting Scotland.
“& ldquo; But, having seen the brand-new individuals we’& rsquo; ve generated do so well, it’& rsquo; s dazzling. It makes the options harder for us.
If the Top 14 is to be his destination, that will present Scotland boss Gregor Townsend with a number of challenges in future, primarily the unwillingness of France’s big-spending clubs to release players to their international set-ups for any more than the bare minimum as set out by World Rugby.
But McFarland, speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Australia, reckons the 25-year-old will take the upheaval in his stride.
“No, he’s playing for Scotland,” said the Scots’ forwards coach, who previously worked with Russell with the Warriors, as he shrugged off suggestions that speculation over his future might disrupt the stand-off. “He wants to be the best that he can. He’s competitive, he loves playing, he loves training, so no (it won’t disrupt him).”
The news comes as a disappointment for coaching staff still basking in the glory of Saturday’s fine display against New Zealand, but, while Russell retains the potential to develop into a genuine world star, McFarland sees no reason to become too despondent.
“I would much rather see him playing for Glasgow – we all would – but it is what it is,” he said.
“Finn is a world-class fly-half and can produce fantastic games. When we played in Australia last year he was a stand-out player. People all around the world will have looked at him and said, ‘This is a match-winner’.
“He’s a great character to have around. He’s very relaxed and yet extremely competitive.
“He will definitely continue to grow. He is eager to learn and make improvements.”
The Scots have taken real heart after pushing New Zealand so close.
They had the world champions on the rack at the death only to ultimately succumb 22-17.
But McFarland reckons Townsend’s injury-hit squad can grow even stronger once back to full strength.
Wing Sean Maitland has rejoined the squad after shaking off injuries that kept him out against Samoa and New Zealand, but Zander Fagerson and Alex Dunbar are undergoing concussion checks.
“Competition is everything,” McFarland said. “We do have players who are injured who have an excellent track record playing for Scotland.
“But, having seen the new guys we’ve brought in do so well, it’s brilliant. It makes the choices harder for us.
“Were there things we could have done better on Saturday and won us the game? Definitely. We will try and improve on those things as well as putting focus on the things that we did well, the things that got us into that position to compete.
“The fact we pushed the All Blacks so close and we still believe we have room to improve obviously gives us hope for the future.”