Scotland's Finn Russell. PA

Finn Russell left out of Scotland squad for Autumn Nations series

Jamie Ritchie will take over the captaincy for Gregor Townsend’s side.

RACING 92 FLY-half Finn Russell has been left out of the Scotland squad for the Autumn Nations series while Jamie Ritchie takes over the captaincy.

Russell was given the summer off as Scotland toured South America, alongside several other players who had featured on the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa the previous year.

But he has not been brought back into the fold by head coach Gregor Townsend for games against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Argentina at BT Murrayfield.

Edinburgh’s Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings of Gloucester and Glasgow’s Ross Thompson will battle for the number 10 jersey.

Russell was dropped for Kinghorn for Scotland’s final Guinness Six Nations match in March after it emerged he was one of six players to have breached team protocol by going out drinking in Edinburgh after returning from their win in Italy the previous weekend.

Then skipper Stuart Hogg was among the group, all of whom have been selected for this squad with the exception of Russell and Sam Johnson, who suffered a broken jaw while playing for Glasgow at the weekend.

Hogg was also left out of the summer tour and has been replaced as captain by Ritchie, who missed the Test series against Argentina through injury.

Townsend had insisted while naming his summer squad that the breach of discipline after the Italy game had no bearing on his selection and the issue had been ironed out.

Russell had previously fallen out with Townsend following a similar breach of protocol ahead of the 2020 Six Nations, although the pair had repaired their relationship.

Australia international Jack Dempsey has been called up after switching allegiances while his uncapped Glasgow team-mates Murphy Walker and Stafford McDowall are also included in Townsend’s squad.

Dempsey won 14 caps for Australia but has been able to join the Scotland set-up under recently-introduced World Rugby rules that allow players to change sides following a three-year period of international inactivity.

Richie Gray has been given the chance to add to his 67 caps, the last of which came in the 2021 Six Nations.

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