He may not look like the stereotypical beefed up rugby player, but Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell is strong. Really strong.
Speaking on Le French Rugby Podcast, Russell’s Racing 92 teammate Bernard Le Roux was asked about the mercurial Scot and he couldn’t speak highly enough about him.
“We have absolutely no idea [what he’s going to do]. We train about kicking it out of the 22 and then he runs it everywhere.”
“Even us that play with him don’t know what he’s going to do. He’s so unpredictable. He’s always on fire. He’s such a funny guy.
“He’s such a relaxed dude. He’s eating M&Ms and dancing like two minutes before kick-off.”
Le Roux has played against Russell both against Scotland and Glasgow Warriors, and says he posesses an x-factor that even sets him apart from the likes of All Black great Dan Carter.
“He’s so relaxed and all over the place. But that’s his style and way he plays. He’s a really great bloke and I’m fortunate to play with him.
“He’s such an attacking flyhalf. He’s different to what we had in the past [at Racing]. Obviously we had Dan Carter and Pat Lambie in the past, but Finn has got that X-Factor. It’s fun playing with him.
“He enjoys challenges so much. When he’s playing against big flyhalves you always know he’s going to be on.
“He’s got some crazy skills. His ball skills and his vision are pretty amazing.”
Maybe the biggest complete the big forward could pay to the modestly built Russell (6ft, 87kg) is how bizarrely powerful he is despite it. “He’s pretty strong,” said the 6’5, 114kg Le Roux. “In training we were split up into small groups during Covid in pre-season. And he was in my group.”
“I was doing 50s and 55s on dumbells and 200[kg] on deadlifts and this guy pitches up.
“He didn’t even warm up or nothing. He does 50s on dumbells and deadlifts. You look and him think ‘this guy can’t pick up 5 kilograms man but he’s so strong. He’s like a natural freak. He’s so, so strong.”
A possible source of Russell’s unlikely strength could be the fact that he was an apprentice stonemason before a professional career in rugby beckoned.
He’s great on the beer after the game too.
“That’s where he’s best,” joked Le Roux. “He’s a good bloke and a good team bloke. Everyone enjoys him. He’s such a friendly guy. Especially him and Simon Zebo. They’re great for the team vibe and outside of rugby. They’re such a big part of the team.”
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