Let’s hope Gregor Townsend manages to convince New Zealander Fergus Burke to play for Scotland rather than England as he is the natural successor to Finn Russell. 

His name may not be on the radar of lots of Scotland rugby fans but the 24-year-old fly-half is potentially world class and badly needed by the national team. 

The former New Zealand under-20s player, who has played 33 times for Crusaders, is a hot property and has joined Saracens on a three-year deal as a replacement for Owen Farrell, who has signed for Racing 92. 

Scotland Rugby News: Owen Farrell will leave Saracens for Racing 92 in the summerOwen Farrell will leave Saracens for Racing 92 in the summer (Image: PA)

Former All Black and 2011 World Cup winner Israel Dagg, the former Crusaders fullback, said losing Burke from New Zealand rugby was "devastating". 

New Zealand head coach Scott Robertson had him down as a future All Black but Burke’s decision to chase the big money by signing for Saracens has put paid to that happening as he won’t give a debut to someone not playing in his homeland.

The big question left for Burke to answer is who does he play for at international level? He qualifies for Scotland and England through his grandparents. Scottish Rugby officials were off their mark first and started talking to Burke last October to try and convince the fly-half to sign for Glasgow Warriors.

They also guaranteed he would be fast-tracked into the Scotland squad for the summer tour matches against USA, Canada, Chile and Uruguay if he could get out of his Crusaders contract early. 

READ MORE:Rob Robertson: What do Scotland stand to gain from Americas tour? 

Talks were progressing well until Farrell announced in January he was leaving Saracens. The English club were looking for a replacement and came up with a more lucrative offer that was being offered by Scottish Rugby with Burke agreeing to it ten days ago.

It would be sad, but a real possibility, that the national side he picks to play for could come down to money. English players get £23,500 plus win bonuses per game for playing for their country. Scotland players - although it has never been confirmed by Scottish Rugby - are understood to get around half that for turning out for their country.

All is not lost because Burke - who has missed the last few months with an Achilles injury - has not shut the door totally on Scotland. He knows he would get many more caps with Scotland rather than England.

He would be guaranteed regular and immediate test match rugby as  understudy to Russell and when the 31-year-old calls it a day he will be ready to be his successor.

If he goes down the England route he will have to wait his turn as Steve Borthwick has Marcus Smith, 24, Finn Smith, 21 and at the other end of the age scale thirty-year-old George Ford is still around.

Scotland Rugby News:

Some of you may question my concern over what happens if Scotland lose out on Burke. 

Watching Russell being forced off early with a groin injury when Bath lost to Exeter in the European Champions Cup brought it home to me Scotland is just one bad injury away from losing one of the greatest players of his generation.

There are other options at 10 for Scotland with Adam Hastings, 27 - who signed for Glasgow Warriors from Gloucester after they attempted to get Burke failed - the best of the rest.

Injury ruled Hastings out of the World Cup, and although he was recalled for the Six Nations, another injury issue forced him to pull out ahead of the tournament. 

Healy, 24, is the type of fly-half the word ‘solid’ fits perfectly. 

The third cab who can’t leave the rank just yet is 25-year-old New Zealander Tom Jordan, of Glasgow Warriors, who qualifies through residency in November. He has been keeping Ross Thompson and Duncan Weir out of the Glasgow team.

It will be impossible to replace Russell as he is a one-off but Burke is someone who can give Scotland a point of difference while the other three are not game changers.  

Crusaders head coach Rob Penny is hugely disappointed Burke is leaving as he had earmarked him as the successor at 10 to Richie Mo’unga, who has moved to Japan.

Burke knows he will be playing for Saracens next season -where Scotland internationals Sean Maitland and Andy Christie are still on the books- so the only decision he has to reach is where his international allegiance lies.

Scotland leave for the first match of their summer tour against Canada in the first week of July.

It would be great if Burke has given a promise to play for Scotland by then.