As the debate continues about whether Finn Russell or Blair Kinghorn should play at stand-off against New Zealand on Sunday, Scotland attack coach AB Zondagh last night threw his weight behind a third, intriguing possibility: that both should play at once.

Zondagh, it must be said, gave nothing away about the coaching team’s preferred starting line-up for the Autumn Nations Series match against the All Blacks. That will be revealed tomorrow afternoon. But, while the odds are still in favour of Kinghorn beginning the game in the No.10 jersey and Russell biding his time on the bench, the possibility of the two being on the field at the same time is a tantalising one.

Russell has been moved to inside centre in the past and would have no difficulty in taking up the role again. Kinghorn could also thrive there, especially if Russell at 10 were able to create space for him to use his running game. But whichever way round they played, in tandem the two could create a lot of headaches for New Zealand.

Over the past two years, of course, Russell has been the source of more than the odd headache for Gregor Townsend. The two have failed to see eye to eye on a number of occasions, and, after initially being left out of the national squad for this series of four home games, the Racing 92 playmaker was only recalled to the ranks on Monday after it was confirmed that Adam Hastings – who began last Saturday’s match against Fiji ahead of Kinghorn – would be ruled out of this weekend’s game because of injury.

But if there is any tension between the stand-off and the coach, it has not been manifested over the past two days, according to Zondagh, who has seen Russell have a galvanising effect already on a squad from which he had been absent since the Six Nations Championship.

“Finn is a really positive guy and he has brought some real good energy into the squad,” the South African said. “So it’s really good to have him back. It’s brilliant.

“Finn is a really good player, he’s been part of our group for a long time, so he understands the DNA of the team. He’s slotted right in. I think he’ll be good value for us if he’ll be starting or on the bench.

“I won’t give away too much in terms of the team that’s starting. But what I can say is that I know that he’ll have a good impact, that’s for sure.

“I think Finn and Blair have a really good relationship. They feed well off each other off the field, they help each other out, so in terms of Blair’s performance or how he feels about it, I think he’s happy to have Finn back in the squad too.

“I think it’s really difficult to say if they will play together or not. It all depends on what happens in the game. You can’t predict injuries or tactical subs. But I think it would be exciting, personally, if both of them were on the field at the same time.”

Townsend insisted last month that his initial omission of Russell from his squad for this series was based on form and consistency. That argument was greeted sceptically by many, including the coaches at Russell’s club, Racing 92, who insisted the Scot had been their most important player in quite a few matches already this season.

But whatever anyone thinks of how well Russell played a month or so ago, there is no denying the fact that in recent weeks he has been in particularly inspired form for Racing. And, echoing remarks made by another Scotland assistant, John Dalziel, last week, Zondagh said he thought that was a response to being axed.

“I think he’s reacted positively,” he continued. “Form is something that comes and goes with players. I just have to commend him on how he’s reacted and how he’s played in the last couple of games. He made a massive impact in the last game he played – and the two previous games as well. We’re really impressed with the way he’s going and we’re really happy to have him here.”

No matter who is in the 23 for Sunday, Zondagh knows Scotland will need to raise their game considerably to have a chance of beating the All Blacks, who beat Wales 55-23 last week.

“They scored eight tries at the weekend and they’re a brilliant side,” he added. “I do think there are opportunities against them, but obviously it’s not going to be an easy game.

“I think we’re putting ourselves into good positions on the field and we’re creating opportunities. Our skill execution definitely needs to improve and we’re obviously working on that week to week.

“But we’re happy with where we’re at. And I’m sure we’re going to put in a good performance on Sunday.”