Finn Russell is targeting a return to the Scotland fold and insists that the Six Nations fallout with head coach Gregor Townsend was “blown out of proportion”.

The influential fly-half left the squad nine days before the opening-day Six Nations defeat by Ireland after missing training following an alleged drinking session at the team hotel.

He did not return during the competition, which was ultimately curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, but Russell says he has been speaking to Townsend over recent weeks.

Gregor Townsend left Russell out of the Six Nations squad
Gregor Townsend left Russell out of the Six Nations squad (Jane Barlow/PA)

“We have been in contact, which has been good,” Russell said in an interview with BT Sport’s Rugby Today.

“The stuff in the Six Nations is done now, I’m not looking at that and thinking we need to look back, it is just how can we move forward and how can we get better as a team?

“I have been chatting to Gregor the last couple of weeks, not as player-coach but just as a chat in terms of ‘how you getting on? What you doing in isolation? What you been up to?’

“For me and Gregor it’s a case of how can our relationship grow and how can we move forward?

“It was up and down during the Six Nations but I think we are both going to move forward in terms of progressing, which is great.

“There wasn’t a massive fallout, I think things were blown out of proportion a bit which happens in the media. We are speaking, it is not like there was a massive disagreement or ‘I am never playing for you again’.”

Scotland are scheduled to play two Tests in South Africa and one in New Zealand in July, but that summer Tour remains in doubt due to the global pandemic.

If the tour does go ahead as planned, Russell has his sights set on being back in the fold.

Finn Russell hopes to be back in the fold soon
Finn Russell hopes to be back in the fold soon (Ian Rutherford/PA)

“If the summer tour goes ahead or not, I think that’s the target,” Russell added. “We both are on the same page in terms of working better together, not just better than now but better than it ever has been.

“We were speaking about the tour in South Africa, New Zealand. I think that’s the plan so we can build the relationship up.

“That’s my plan anyway, to try and get back by then.”