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Scotland v Fiji: Maturing Finn Russell impresses Mike Blair after Racing 92 switch

Mike Blair and Finn Russell at Glasgow in 2016
Autumn Test: Scotland v Fiji
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 10 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Scotland, the BBC Sport website and app. Live text on BBC Sport website

Finn Russell has matured as a player during his time with Racing 92, says Scotland assistant coach Mike Blair.

The fly-half has delivered a string of fine displays since moving to Paris from Glasgow Warriors in the summer.

Blair believes the national team will see the benefit, starting with this Saturday’s meeting with Fiji.

“He’s enjoying himself. And, when Finn’s enjoying himself, that brings out his best rugby,” former scrum-half Blair said.

“Racing have been pretty good with him as well in terms of when he’s able to come in and work with us so that’s been great as well.

“I think he’s got a good balance to his game. He’s had to manage games, but he’s also had games he’s had to play a lot more.

“That game-management thing, they put a lot of onus and pressure on the nine and 10 in France to deal with those areas and he’s done that well.”

When Russell’s move to Racing was announced, Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend expressed concern about players moving away from Scotland and being subjected to heavy workloads.

However, Blair says Russell’s move has benefitted the player and created opportunities for others to get some valuable gain time.

“You want to have as many of your Scottish players playing in Scotland, but if you’ve got five stand-offs all playing in Scotland then they’re not all going to be getting regular rugby,” Blair said.

“As we’ve seen, Finn’s gone and is doing a really good job at Racing and that’s opened up an opportunity for Adam Hastings at Glasgow to get starts. There’s a good balance to it.”

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