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WE'RE FINN GOOD NICK; RUGBY SIX NATIONS LATEST; Horne: We'll cope if Russell is sidelined against France.

Byline: DAVID KELSO

CONFIDENT Pete Horne insisted it won't be the end of the world if his mate Finn Russell is ruled out of Scotland's crucial Six Nations clash with France.

It was still touch and go last night whether Russell will be cleared to play in Paris on Saturday in the wake of a head knock.

But his ex-Glasgow club mate Horne is adamant it will be business as usual during the build-up.

Utility back Horne said: "We've all been in the game long enough now that you know situations like these are part and parcel of rugby.

"As much as you'll be disappointed to see a guy get injured, it always creates an opportunity for someone else to fill the void.

"If you get caught up and hung up on it, there isn't any point - you can't go back in a time machine and change it.

"So you just have to get your head around it and prepare as well as you can to win at the weekend."

Russell joined the rest of the squad at yesterday's training session in Edinburgh but took no part.

Horne said: "He was in good spirits and I'm pretty sure he'll be alright.

"If it was all doom and gloom in the group when an injury happens what does that say to the other players? "If he doesn't make it the next man comes in and he's expected to do a job.

"How many times have we seen the situation where somebody is sidelined and you think, 'Oh no' but two minutes later the new guy has won the game? "That's how the next crop come through.

"We saw that again in the Ireland game when Blair (Kinghorn) came on for Stuart Hogg and was awesome.

"Before that, in the Australia game in November, we were all gutted when Hoggy went down in the warm-up.

"Sean Maitland came in and played brilliant at 15.

"It is what it is and the rest of us are determined to get it right and we'll have the bit between our teeth."

Horne admitted his wife fears for him every time he sets foot on the pitch.

He said: "Kirsten hates the fact there are so many injuries.

"But if you worry about that you would never go on to the field. It is the last thing on your mind.

"It's a physical game and it is never nice to see injuries happen.

"But that's the way it is and I don't know what they could do to change it.

"Everyone is hitting harder, running harder - all looking to be more physical.

"The last time we went to Paris we lost three men before half-time - and Josh Strauss played almost the whole game with a punctured kidney.

"It will be tough going over there again.

"We've had a bit of success against them at home recently - but they're definitely a different beast over there."

On the Russell dilemma, Scotland assistant Danny Wilson said: "Obviously Finn didn't meet the head injury criteria to keep on playing for Racing 92 on Sunday.

"There is an ongoing assessment process which our excellent medical staff will follow through the week.

"He will go through the right protocols, as all players do, and we will see what happens."

Wilson backed up Horne and said: "We know injuries will occur and one man's despair and misery is another man's opportunity.

"What we need to develop in Scotland is depth - especially with a World Cup coming along.

"For the future of the game and for us to compete at the top end we need depth.

"It provides opportunities for other people to get on the field and play.

"The boys who are injured at the moment are outstanding players but we've also got other top players in the squad.

"If we are going to go and challenge at the top end of the game we need the depth you see in some other nations.

"I am confident Scotland will still play like Scotland if Finn doesn't make it.

"We all know Finn is an outstanding rugby player. I've been impressed with him, his attitude and his leadership in my short time with Scotland.

"But I've also been very impressed with a lot of other players in the squad."

CAPTION(S):

KEEPING FOCUS Pete Horne

TRYING TO RUSSELL UP APPEARANCE Finn is touch and go for the France game
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Feb 19, 2019
Words:735
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