Sean O'Brien makes Finn Russell defence, without completely letting him off the hook 5 months ago

Sean O'Brien makes Finn Russell defence, without completely letting him off the hook

"Steve Tandy will be having a lot of harsh words."

On Saturday, after France defeated Scotland at Murrayfield, Shane Horgan didn't spare Finn Russell. The former Ireland winger absolutely went to town on him.

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Speaking on Virgin Media, in Ireland, Horgan used words like 'pathetic' and, in calling Russell's work-rate into question, said you'd never see an All Black or a Springbok doing what he did on Saturday.

Now Sean O'Brien didn't give the Scotsman a free pass but, speaking on House of Rugby, he didn't slate the back off him either. That's because, as far as O'Brien can see, Scotland's problems go far beyond their talented but at times unreliable out-half.

The former Ireland back-row has always had some reservations about the Scots - understandably so given they haven't won a Six Nations since 1999 - and despite a good start to the competition, when they defeated England, he was unsurprised to see them come a cropper against the French. So while disappointed with Russell's laziness, when he didn't chase back ahead of France's first try, O'Brien says you could have picked out any number of 'one-paced' Scots.

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Finn Russell

Sean O'Brien on Finn Russell and Scotland

"As one of your key guys, if he demands a lot of his team-mates in attack, as he does, he has to demand it of himself going backwards," O'Brien said of Finn Russell.

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"He put a loose kick in. He wandered up to the ruck, not heading for anyone, not doing much. And then he's nowhere to be seen. But it wasn't just him.

"Steve Tandy (Scotland's defence coach) will be having a lot of harsh words with a lot of people. A lot of them were one-paced going back."

O'Brien calls this a desperation and says it's something that Scotland were lacking on Saturday.

"There wasn't a desperation in Scotland's defence early on in the game. To get back to a point. To stop momentum. They'll be upset about that and a lot of bits during the game, because they usually work hard, they're not about that."

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Previously on the show, O'Brien has been critical of the Scots and back in November, after their win over Australia, he claimed that they get too carried away with themselves after one big win. In the following game, they were well beaten by South Africa and in many ways, you couldn't call the pattern too dissimilar to how their Six Nations has gone so far.

"Do you know what I find frustrating about the Scottish team?" O'Brien said.

"They win a turnover in the middle of the field and they're all celebrating and going absolutely crazy. What they need to do is get on with it and focus on the next job. Go and beat these teams, rather than jumping around and shouting at lads.

"All this sort of stuff. You're looking at them going, 'You haven't won anything major in the last while. Go on to the next job and go win these games."

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