Published on: Amended:
Finn Russell champion Racing 92 welcomes Toulouse as France's Top 14 returns this weekend, half the fly continuing their Six Nations exile due to argument with Scottish head coach Gregor Townsend.
Russell, 27, missed defeats against England and Ireland after initially violating team protocol and is unlikely to return for his national team.
"This whole situation with Scotland was made for me to want a drink, when in reality it is a matter of control, respect and trust, on and off the field," said Russell to the British newspaper Sunday Times.
"I'm not turning my back on my country or the boys, it's a personal matter between me and Gregor. I want to be with them. But right now, it’s not really possible for me to be involved. "
Townsend responded by saying that the door for Russell's return to international configuration remained open.
"I have been training it for many years. If he comes back and is willing to accept what we are going through by then, of course, he can play a role in the future, "Townsend told the BBC on Tuesday.
Since the fallout, Russell played a full match in Racing 27-0's victory over Castres on January 25, was photographed on vacation in Dubai and returned to club training in the French capital.
The Parisians occupy the fourth place in the ranking and welcome a Toulouse team rejuvenated on Sunday, but the two clubs will not have many French internationals in good shape.
The second abrasive row Bernard Le Roux, the impressive scrum half Antoine Dupont and the influential half-fly Romain Ntamack are among the internationals unavailable during a Six Nations rest weekend.
The trio played a decisive role in the first place of the Blues with victories over England and Italy.
- ‘cracker’ table top -
Elsewhere, Lyonnais leaders will travel to Bordeaux-Bègles, second, on Saturday, in what former New Zealand center Charlie Ngatai described as a "cracker" of a match.
"We don't have too many internationals outside, they don't have either either so it will be a cracker," he told AFP on Wednesday.
"To really give Bordeaux-Bègles a good mark, we will see where the team is.
"It's a good chance to really give it to them, especially after a two-week break when everyone is fresh and ready to go," he added.
In the midfield, Fiji's outside backs, Josua Tuisova of Lyon and Semi Radradra, are expected to face sold out at 33,000 Stade Chaban-Delmas.
"It will be a massive competition for two of the most dangerous players in the world to compete. It will be a show in itself, "said former All Black.
Saturday (all hours 1700GMT unless otherwise indicated)
Bordeaux-Begles v Lyon (1430), Montpellier v Bayonne, Pau v Clermont, Toulon v Brive, Stade Francais v La Rochelle (1945)
Agen v Castres (1130), Racing 92 v Toulouse (1550)
© 2020 AFP