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'The most naturally gifted flyhalf in world rugby' - Plaudits flood in for Racing star Russell

By Ian Cameron
Finn Russell /PA

The virtuoso performance put on by Racing 92 flyhalf Finn Russell against Harlequins in the Champions Cup has seen a deluge of plaudits rain in for the Scotland star.

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Russell was pulling the strings as Racing tore Quins apart at The Stoop, ultimately running out 49 – 7 in a statement display for the Parisians.

The former Glasgow Warriors playmaker was at his brilliant best, leading to BT Sports commentator and former Harlequin Ugo Monye to describe him as the ‘most naturally talented flyhalf in world rugby’. Russell pulled plenty of rabbits out of his rugby hat, creating spectacular tries for both Simon Zebo and Teddy Thomas.

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After the game Russell was interviewed by BT Sport, with the modest Scot crediting his forwards for an armchair ride and his backs for their awesome finishing. “It’s great for me, the forwards were able to do their job, which makes it easy for me,” said Russell. “These x-factor guys outside me makes it a lot easier as well. It’s great for me to have the forwards and back that we do.”

“It’s obviously nice,” said Russell, when Monye’s plaudits were put to him. “It’s a big compliment and I’m happy to take it, but there’s a lot of gifted guys out there. And Marcus Smith for Harlequins, he’s a great young player as well. It was tough for him today as our forwards had a lot of control in the match. But it’s a nice compliment from Ugo.”

There were plenty of compliments flying around on social for the Scot too.

“This is turning embarrassing now for Harlequins! Been completely made to look like an amateur team by Racing 92! Love watching Finn Russell play where he just experiments everytime he gets the ball! Joy to watch.”

https://twitter.com/craigdavies/status/1340702205884690432

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https://twitter.com/garethreynolds/status/1340699507756036101

The question for Russell is whether not Warren Gatland will now reward his outstanding form with a call-up for the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa next summer. Should Russell go, it would likely mean one of Jonny Sexton, Owen Farrell or Dan Biggar will not travel south.

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Shaylen 1 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 7 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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