What can we say about mercurial fly half that hasn’t already been said? He is, by a distance, one of the most exciting players in world rugby. Gatland’s favourite Johnny Sexton will be coming up to his 36th birthday next summer, so the coach will be looking for an exciting foil to Owen Farrell’s metronomic play.
One major point that may play against Russell will be his very public spat with Gregor Townsend. Gatland is famous for running a tight ship in which characters are expected to conform to his style and the team ethos, so he might be nervous about taking a player who could cause problems behind the scenes or question his leadership.
In the end, his inclusion might come down to how quickly the Racing man can repair the fraught relationship and start doing what he does best in the thistle again.