'Boks will love it': Finn Russell's magic pass for Racing 92 oddly has Springbok fans licking their lips
It was a magic cutout pass to Irish international Simon Zebo that had many singing his praises, slinging a wide pass that fell into Zebo’s path after beating the outstretched reach of the last Stade defender. Zebo was able to glide over untouched for the score.
The pass was the type of signature play that Russell has provided at all levels, famously dismantling England a couple of times in similar fashion throughout his career.
The high-risk, high-reward play of Scotland’s number 10 presents a unique proposition for the British & Irish Lions, who have selected Russell for the upcoming tour of South Africa.
Finn Russell is a class above any other Lions Ten right now. His vision, passing, tactical, and cross field kicking especially, mark him out as beyond what likes of Biggar are capable of. Lions will score heavily from broken field & cross field attacks. #Lions2021 #Racing92
— Naxis (@Naxis911) June 5, 2021
Oddly, the sight of Russell setting up tries against Stade Francais had Springbok fans salivating at the prospect of Russell playing for the Lions against them.
One claimed that he is the kind of player ‘you can rattle with aggressive line speed’ after which ‘everything falls apart’, adding the ‘Boks will love it’. Another claimed ‘it will rain intercept tries’ against the Springbok defence.
fascinating if Lions pick him.. in one sense he is kind of player you can rattle with agresive line speed ,and then everything fall apart. boks will love it
but..at same time he is the best 10 in the world when it come to a “bridge” pass like this , and exploiting agression.. ? https://t.co/ejygWmfJ22
— Oom Rugby (@Oom_Rugby) June 12, 2021
The Springboks highly aggressive defence calls for pressure from the outside, with the wingers jamming up and in. Cheslin Kolbe is also a known intercept merchant with great anticipation for the pass.
South African fans naturally are visioning easy tries at the other end of the pitch with Russell on the field for the Lions.
So these flat passes against Springboks defence it will rain intercept tries
— Mandisi (@Mesuliya) June 12, 2021
Just slightly off with those long passes and it’s a free intercept try under the posts.
— Wesley (@WesleyR1980) June 12, 2021
yes ! and that skill is almost more a concern… it is more easier to trap the sexy 10’s in the pocket if they only thinking in the moment , but if a guy is seeing the space you will give him before you come up then you can be in big k*k… using your agression against yourself
— Oom Rugby (@Oom_Rugby) June 12, 2021
No disrespect to Finn Russell but I reckon Elton Jantjies is the best when it comes to that kinda pass.. Will be a great series.. Don’t think Lions will start with Finn at 10 though.. Unless the situation is desperate
— MtungwaMbulazOmnyama (@mandisikhumalo) June 12, 2021
Not everyone was convinced Russell starting for the Lions would end in disaster, with the accomplished flyhalf reading the play before it develops to understand where the chips will fall.
One fan suggested that he is used to playing on the back foot behind the Scotland pack, and that he has never been rattled before as Springbok fans were suggesting.
Watch him closely. He sees it before the racing player has even carried into contact too. He’s aware of the shape and numbers, and has reset his position while clapping/demanding the quick feed. He’s next level. Has to start for the Lions.
— Naxis (@Naxis911) June 11, 2021
not sure i’ve ever seen him get rattled, ever, and with scotland he’s had to play on the back foot a lot. his chip kicks are also ace so rush defence requires a 9 sweeper – does the current bok defence system have this?
— Fez (@Fergus__Taylor) June 12, 2021
Under rated in UK as we don’t see him every week. I watch top 14 when I can and Finn is a class above. No longer a maverick and vison, control is world class. Listening to those who play with him, magician and sees things others don’t!
Hands down lions 10!
— Glenn Gibson (@glenngibson15) June 5, 2021
Racing 92 will play European runners-up La Rochelle in their key semi-final next week as they chase their first league title since 2016.
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