Hastings is highly rated
– Adam Hastings (above) replacing Finn Russell as Scotland fly-half for their opening Six Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin this weekend will make little difference, according to the hosts’ captain Johnny Sexton.
Hastings, 23, will make his first start in the tournament today due to regular outside-half Russell, 27, having been disciplined for breaching team rules last week.
However, Sexton – who has been appointed skipper by head coach Andy Farrell after Rory Best’s retirement – said Hastings possesses the same mercurial talent as Russell.
“It’s like for like really,” Sexton told reporters at Ireland’s training base.
“When you talk about Finn Russell’s strengths, you’re talking about Adam Hastings’ strengths, they’re all the same.
“I don’t know how it will disrupt them, they’ve sort of played it down a little bit.
“They seem to be happy with where they’re at and he (Hastings) is a quality player and one that we are going to have to be fully switched on for because he has a full bag of tricks that he can pull out,” the 34-year-old added.
Sexton, the World Player-oftheYear in 2018, had a disappointing 2019 beset by fitness and form problems which was also reflected in the Ireland side as a whole.
Their limp quarterfinal exit to then holders New Zealand was a far cry from their momentous victory over the same opposition in Dublin in 2018.
Sexton’s injury woes continued with a knee problem that saw him out of action since December, however, his steely determination has shone through. – AFP